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Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research


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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

To enhance CCDOR’s community with respect to its employees and working environment, CCDOR began three DEI workgroups during 2022. Each group has established leadership, membership, and goals.

Mariah Branson and Alexandra Gowdy-Jaehnig co-lead the Diversity Workgroup, and members include Rebecca Brown, Collin Calvert, Adams Dudley, Steve Fu, Sierra Hennessy, Adam Kaplan and Sarah Norman. The Workgroup’s overall objective is to continue and expand CCDOR’s efforts to recruit and retain staff, investigators, fellows, and Without Compensation (WOC) staff from diverse backgrounds. The Workgroup has four goals: 1) develop CCDOR’s diversity, equity, and inclusion statement, 2) develop a plan for CCDOR to recruit and hire more diverse job candidates, 3) identify and provide diversity educational opportunities and resources for CCDOR employees, and 4) ensure CCDOR effectively communicates and broadly disseminates its commitment to diversity. To date, the Diversity Workgroup has engaged CCDOR stakeholders in the creation of a DEI statement (which is now available for the Center’s use) and has started a literature review to identify strategies to recruit and hire more diverse job candidates. CCDOR’s DEI statement reads:

The Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research (CCDOR) strives to foster an inclusive work environment that honors its employees’ diverse identities, perspectives, backgrounds, values, and cultural practices. We believe that a diverse workforce enriches our research teams and the quality of our research to improve health and healthcare delivery for all. CCDOR is deeply committed to just treatment, equitable opportunity, and cultivating a community based on respect for everyone.  

The Equity Workgroup is co-led by Tam Do and Lizzy Goldsmith. Members include Maylen Anthony, Patrick Hammett, Erin Linden, Brittany Majeski, Brent Taylor, and Timothy Wilt. December 2021, CCDOR conducted a needs assessment that covered several areas including DEI. CCDOR employees expressed a need for more equitable opportunities specifically for project staff. As such, the Equity Workgroup’s overall objective is to improve equity for CCDOR project staff (research assistants, study coordinators, and project managers) through transparency and shared knowledge. To move CCDOR toward this objective, the Workgroup’s goals for the next year are to educate CCDOR on career development pathways for project staff by 1) developing communication guides for VA-funded staff and PIs regarding personalized career development for staff, and 2) exploring CCDOR mentoring options for project staff based on personalized career development plans. Communication guides are currently under revision, with a plan for final versions to be available summer 2023. The mentoring program structure is under development, with a plan to pilot in 2023-2024.

Tracy Sides and Alex Thompson co-lead the Inclusion Workgroup. Members include Erin Amundson, Malloree Argust, Allison Gustavson, Jill Mahal-Lichty, Wendy Miller, and Siamak Noorbaloochi. The Workgroup’s goal is to co-design and implement processes and actions to increase community, given the “new normal” hybrid workplace environment. After building a common base of knowledge and soliciting input on workplace values from across CCDOR, the Inclusion Workgroup has begun planning and launching multiple activities, including: developing a “buddy system” for new employees and fellows; hosting a variety of virtual and in-person, drop-in social activities – walk breaks, lunches, coffee breaks; and launching a lightly moderated MS Teams @ CCDOR Community channel to create a virtual ‘common space’ in CCDOR’s work environment that supports informal communication and connections across the center. 

CCDORians have also helped to spread DEI efforts beyond VA. Dr. Shahnaz Sultan was named the Vice Chair of the newly-created DEI Council in the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Along with Associate Vice Chair Dr. Cuong Pham, Dr. Sultan is helping to lead the charge to build community and promote DEI-related work within the Department of Medicine. Faculty and staff from each of the Divisions have been selected to serve on the Council. Drs. Sultan and Pham (along with collaborators from other departments) recently receiving funding from the Office of DEI to better understand how DEI is valued in the promotion and tenure process. Initial work has focused on a systematic review of the published literature to identify modifications to the Promotion and Tenure criteria as well as a review of statements from a range of medical institutions to identify best practices or innovations.