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Actions Taken in 2022

Jan 04, 2023

2022 was a busy year for the University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We have seen many changes in our communications, and we have worked hard to share data in a meaningful way to ensure that our stakeholders know what is getting done, who is doing it, and how we can do better. At the beginning of the year, we launched our transparency website, which included a section on our self-study of health sciences as a whole.

Earlier in the year, we published the results of the first Diversity Engagement Survey (DES) which was administered by our office in 2015. We contracted with the Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as with the University of Massachusetts. It had a response rate of 23%, but those who responded were representative of the people who work in health sciences. The survey examined nine domains of engagement, and then compared our responses to the national benchmarking data. In almost every domain, our institution was firmly in the average range or middle third, as illustrated here:


Engagement Cluster and Inclusion Factor Range Benchmark Mean UUHS Mean UUHS Ranking
Vision/Purpose Cluster (10-50) 38.41 38.86 Middle Third
Common Purpose Factor (2-10) 8.05 8.15 Top Third
Access to Opportunity Factor (2-10) 7.81 7.97 Middle Third
Equitable Reward and Recognition Factor (2-10) 7.07 7.17 Middle Third
Cultural Competence Factor (4-20) 15.46 15..55 Middle Third
Camaraderie Cluster (6-30) 23.07 23.25 Middle Third
Trust Factor (3-15) 11.42 11.47 Middle Third
Sense of Belonging Factor (3-15) 11.66 11.78 Middle Third
Appreciation Cluster (6-30) 23.34 23.56 Middle Third
Appreciation of Individual Attributes Factor (3-15) 11.49 11.64 Middle Third
Respect Factor (3-15) 11.85 11.92 Middle Third


However, in one domain, the Common Purpose Cluster, we are in the top third, clearly above average. This is due to the commitment of our employees in every part to providing the best education, service, or health care possible. We are proud of this finding, and we commend our people for working so hard to achieve excellence.

There is, however, one disconnect. University of Utah Health is not an average institution. We are an excellent institution, and the survey identified areas in which we could improve. The areas of greatest need for improvement were indicated in the free response section. This word cloud shows the frequency that some ideas were mentioned:


a word cloud with blue small text and green large text; the largest words are diversity, work, more, University, department, diverse, more, faculty, staff


"Diversity, inclusion, university, and people" were frequently mentioned. In addition, the free responses indicated that we needed to address the following areas, presented here with the actions taken to address them:


Area to Address Actions Taken
More emphasis on hiring faculty who identify as underrepresented in medicine (URM) and making sure URMs are represented in leadership The School of Medicine has created a diversity hiring initiative within the office of the Vice Dean for Research. This program offers support for start-up packages for those researchers from underrepresented or historically excluded backgrounds. Our main campus has also funded cluster hiring initiatives for the same purpose.
Re-evaluation of employee compensation, recognition, and support mechanisms Employee compensation is continually evaluated, and retention bonuses have been put into place for most employees in the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. This is done with an equity lens, ensuring that those with the lowest salaries get the most frequent retention bonuses.
More training for UHSC students, faculty, and staff about engagement and inclusion that includes topics on diversity, inter professional respect, and religion In 2023, the Health Sciences Strategy has a goal to provide mandatory, longitudinal trainings for all employees in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This is led by the Huntsman Cancer Institute's Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, under the direction of Dr. Kola Okuyemi, and Natasha Ovuoba.
More publicity for engagement and inclusion events and resources In 2022, we celebrated the third annual, and first in-person MEDiversity Week. There is now a monthly newsletter with relevant content and events, as well as a fully updated and functional website.


In all, we have addressed the initial findings from that first climate survey.

We are pleased to announce that we will be initiating a new climate survey on the Day of Collective Action, February 8, 2023. This will be for all employees of health sciences, including the over thirteen thousand hospital employees, and all students in health sciences. It will also be offered for the first time ever in Spanish.

These are exciting times. Since we have moved considerably since the last administration of the survey, we are looking forward to learning what else needs to be improved from our communities. We hope that all of you take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the survey and we look forward to your feedback.

José E. Rodríguez, MD, FAAFP

Jan 04, 2023 8:08 AM