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Spotlight on Abdulkhaliq Barbaar


As a new regularly occurring segment in our MEDiversity Newsletter, we will be spotlighting the folks who lead the charge for equity, diversity, and inclusion on our health sciences campus.

We are excited that our first “Spotlight On” features our newest team member, Abdulkhaliq Barbaar (he/him/his). Abdulkhaliq will be joining the team on March 16th as the inaugural Director for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Abdulkhaliq Barbaar; I am from Somalia and moved to Utah in 2003. I graduated from the University of Utah in 2012 with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. I continued my education at the University of Utah and earned two master’s degrees in Social Work (MSW) and Business Administration (MBA). I presented at local, national, and international conferences about developing a sense of belonging and ending systemic barriers. I am particularly interested in building connections and enriching the lives of historically marginalized communities, facilitating collaborative and authentic relationships across lines of difference, and leading sustainable partnerships that will create meaningful changes and impact. I love spending quality time with my wife and six children. I speak Somali, English, and Swahili.

What excites you most about joining the University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion team?

I am excited about the opportunity to use my education and lived experiences to advocate, promote, and amplify the stories, experiences, perspectives, and expertise of historically marginalized faculty, staff, students, and patients.

As the inaugural Director in UHEDI, what is your vision for this role?

My vision for this role is to bring together U of U Health leaders and stakeholders to create a safe and welcoming environment that accepts and values everyone and enriches the learning experiences for historically marginalized faculty, staff, and students.

What is your “why”?

My “why” is personal. I have always strived to find a sense of belonging because it is critical to our success. I want to create a learning and workplace environment that is safe and welcoming for everyone.

5 Fun Facts

  • Favorite color: Green
  • Favorite quote or piece of advice: “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” -Lilla Watson
  • Food or drink you couldn’t live without: Somalia tea
  • Where is the next place you’d like to travel to or visit? Somalia
  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be? I would look or touch people, and everyone would love each other.