University of Utah Health
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives - Bronze
After 10 months of industry research and information gathering, content specialist Nafisa Masud and internal communications manager Nicole Vowell embarked on a novel EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee initiative that not only improved our marketing and communications team’s work but also redefined the way we approached our content creation, community engagement, and collaboration across the institution. This two-person effort eventually grew into an interdisciplinary committee and three separate task forces.
Most importantly, this initiative created a safe space for our team members to explore their identities and experiences, to challenge our policies and processes, and to imagine equitable solutions to the problems we faced. Our department delivers centralized communications for a health system that serves 2 million patients each year across the Mountain West. To better serve the institution, we had to show up for our team first. We recognized our power here. We weren’t helpless bystanders. We were communicators capable of making change.
What was the most impactful part of your entry?
From the beginning, the EDI Committee operated vastly differently from other groups. There was no hierarchy; directors and their reports operated at the same level. Each committee meeting began with a short meditation to allow members to step out of their hectic workday mindset. Sometimes, we started with personal sharing: our nicknames as a child or favorite meals from our culture or family. We spent most of our first year sharing and developing trust. In a world obsessed with doing, this was simply a space to be.
What is one thing you learned from your entry/experience?
We’ve found that the value of this initiative lies in it being uniquely personalized: to our department members’ passions and information gaps, to our institutional partners’ needs, and to our patients’ lived experiences and identities. Our hope is that this work not only aligns us more closely with our institutional mission but also provides a model to others for how any group can create a space to effect change across their own team and their surrounding community.