University of Colorado President Todd Saliman heard about progress being made on many fronts at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus – diversity and inclusion, research and healthcare innovations among them – on Feb. 14. His visit was part of ongoing statewide outreach efforts to learn how CU can better serve the diverse needs and communities of Colorado.
Saliman’s visit included tours of the new Anschutz Health Sciences Building and the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes. In a series of meetings, he listened to research faculty, the Chancellor’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Council, students and staff.
Saliman was joined by Assistant Vice President of Engagement Tony Salazar; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist Emily Osan; Senior Associate Vice President of Federal Relations and Outreach Jack Waldorf; and Assistant Vice President of Federal Relations and Health Policy Brett Roude.
At the DEI meeting, attended by leaders representing DEI efforts at CU Anschutz, Saliman and CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman joined a roundtable facilitated by Regina Richards, PhD, MSW, vice chancellor of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.
Saliman, who focused on CU’s DEI efforts in his February newsletter, said the priority to create a more inclusive environment at CU is a long-term commitment tied to resources and accountability.
“It’s not just a switch we can flip – we know that we won’t get where we want to be overnight. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do things now,” he said. “Thanks to Chancellor Elliman and Regina and to so many of you, your campus has been doing real, meaningful work for a while in this space, and you’re making progress.”
Pictured from left, Cerise Hunt, PhD, MSW, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Colorado School of Public Health; Regina Richards, PhD, MSW, vice chancellor of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement; and Emily Osan, MSW, diversity, equity and inclusion specialist for the CU system participate in a roundtable of CU Anschutz DEI leaders along with CU President Todd Saliman and CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman.
The wide-ranging, 45-minute discussion touched on the campus’s DEI efforts around recruitment, retention, fostering a welcoming environment, improving community health equity and other issues. Progress related to diversity, inclusion, equity and access is a key pillar of CU’s systemwide strategic plan.
Cerise Hunt, PhD, MSW, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Colorado School of Public Health, said, “As someone who has been on this campus for 13 years, the level of collaboration through the Diversity, Community Engagement and Leadership Council has been phenomenal – so thank you, Regina, for that leadership. It’s refreshing. But, yeah, we’ve got a ways to go.
Embedded DEI efforts
“We need to ensure that all of our DEI efforts are embedded within our policy, practices and procedures because we can’t take another change,” Hunt said. “Because another change – someone with a different agenda – is what stops our progress.”
Richards underscored the importance of sustaining DEI practices and procedures and ensuring accountability across units on campus. “We need a database that helps us understand how DEI initiatives are moving forward,” she said. A centralized database would augment the baseline DEI data from Institutional Research and the Campus and Workplace Culture Survey to track how CU Anschutz is implementing DEI programs, Richard said.
“It would help us monitor: What is our progress? What are our metrics? How do we know that we’ve actually had impact based on different strategic initiatives? All of this is what we need because we want people to feel as though they belong.”
President Saliman, who will visit the other three CU campuses in the coming weeks, shared comments from the public during his travels across the state. “What we’re hearing is that people think CU Anschutz is amazing. The work that you do here is so valued by the people of Colorado.”