Our second annual report builds on our progress and highlights our opportunities to (re)commit to diversity, equity, inclusion, anti‑racism, anti‑oppression and accessibility at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.
This report is a snapshot of current initiatives, programming, events and reflections about the work ahead. We are encouraged by our progress and look forward to learning, growing and evolving together as we actualize our commitments and mission of Fred Hutch.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Duwamish, Puyallup, Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.
We also acknowledge exploited labor, racist, heterosexist, ableist, xenophobic, religious, sexist, trans-antagonistic and other oppressive violence, and the ongoing struggle for justice on this land. We reflect on the ancestors of our various peoples, nations, tribes and families; ancestors whose struggles, pain, power, privilege and strivings we hold in our very bodies. We recognize, with gratitude, all those whose sacrifice, struggle and labor make our daily freedoms possible, and challenge us to learn, work and live justly.
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are key organizational priorities and the work of our entire enterprise. From our approaches to excellent and impactful research to the compassionate patient-centered care we deliver and the capacity we develop to co-create an organizational culture where everyone can thrive, we are acting on our commitments toward our mission. Over the past year, while pursuing and implementing the adult oncology restructure, we have deepened our strategic efforts and accountabilities in DEI to solidify our foundation for meaningful change. For us, a deeper, broader foundation is critical for supporting the height and sustainability of our DEI framework.
We offer this 2022 Annual Report on our progress and opportunities to expand our diversity, effectuate inclusion and pursue greater equity in outcomes as a reflection of our collective efforts toward anti-racist DEI goals. DEI work requires collaboration, focus and agility to actualize and sustain the change we seek.
Our progress is highlighted within six major areas:
While we are still early in our journey, you will observe that we are making important advancements in this endeavor, with keen recognition of the significant work before us. Our successes should be noted and elevated. However, we also emphasize opportunities to deepen, strengthen and systematize new and effective actions to take us further. We hope this report will inspire and challenge us as we hold ourselves responsible for ongoing progress.
Our workforce reflects an increasingly diverse collective and representation of talented scientists, clinicians and professionals who are committed to the mission and values of Fred Hutch. In this strategic area of our work toward inclusive excellence, we are beginning to see the work of committed leaders and departments across the center and our engagement of best and promising DEI practices reflected in our workforce. Further, we recognize that during this time of “great resignation” and “reckoning,” talented people are searching for a place to work that is actively pursuing equity and belonging for its entire workforce. We are pleased to report the data that helps us understand who we are, and pledge to find ways to expand our data points so we can more fully celebrate the complexity and richness of our current and more expansive future diversity.
As a federal contractor, Fred Hutch is required to collect data from all employees at the time of on-boarding related to gender, racial and ethnic identity. These data, along with other information from Human Resources on different job categories, were used to assemble this report. Employees provide these data voluntarily and over 95% of our employees have shared this information. While these data are quite complete, a clear limitation is our inability to assess our workforce along other dimensions relevant to DEI. These include sexual orientation, gender identity beyond male/female categories, education, language, nationality, socio-economic status and immigration. The DEI Core is considering ways to ascertain these types of data in the future, but none are yet available to report.
Note: Because the majority of graduate students at Fred Hutch are employed by the University of Washington, this report does not include demographic information about this population.
Gender: The current Gender categories are "Female," "Male" and "Other.”
Race/ethnicity: Available racial/ethnic data include “American Indian,” “Asian,” “Black,” “Hispanic,” “Pacific Islander,” “White,” “Two or more” and “Not Specified.” For individuals who identify as “Two or more” we do not have information on which specific groups they identify with. Given the small numbers for some of these groups we created two variables, defined as follows:
Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC): Includes all people who have indicated that they identify with at least one of the following categories: “American Indian,” “Asian,” “Black,” “Hispanic,” “Pacific Islander” and/or “Two or more.”
Underrepresented Minority (URM): This grouping is based on the National Institutes of Health definition and includes people who identify with one of the following categories: “American Indian,” “Black,” “Hispanic” or “Pacific Islander.” We recognize that there is some amount of undercounting present since we could not identify and include individuals who identify with “Two or more” racial/ethnic groups when one of those groups is URM group.
Some individuals with known identifiers in multiple categories are counted in each.
These numbers reflect the legacy Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance employees combined.
* Excludes applicants for faculty searches (see faculty data in Table 6).
‡ % is not shown to protect confidentiality.
‡ % is not shown to protect confidentiality.
Promoting an inclusive approach to sourcing and procurement is a strategic priority at Fred Hutch. Opportunities to utilize local and diverse suppliers exist across the center. Led by Steve Farneman, Procurement has been working on building a foundation and aligning stakeholders to engage in a proactive business strategy to make an impact in the community. The goal is to add supplier diversity to existing processes and procedures.
The Procurement team is in the process of locating new suppliers and driving innovation by bringing in different perspectives to help grow our science and care. Currently, 27% of our total active supplier base are small, diverse vendors. Fred Hutch is a coalition member of the Washington Employers for Racial Equity and the team will continue to look at local and state vendors. Other divisions and offices have also moved to using diverse vendors: Basic Sciences has supported local minority-owned businesses by purchasing food for events; the DO has moved to a new minority-owned vendor, That Brown Girl Cooks, for off-site and in-person catered events; and Philanthropy has created a vendor resource list that includes Black-owned, Asian-owned, Latinx-owned, woman-owned, and LGBTQIA-owned businesses. These activities align with employee values and are outward expressions of our internal diversity, equity and inclusion activities.
The Clinical Research Division incorporated guidance on the required statement on DEI for the reappointment/promotion packet for Appointments & Promotions. The committee recommendation template for reappointment/promotion includes evaluating faculty DEI efforts. Additionally, A&P guidance for the annual meeting report-out includes noting faculty demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion and outreach.
The Communications team worked with the DEI Core and senior leadership to develop and implement internal and external crisis communications strategies and responses. These include ongoing engagement opportunities and resources for employees related to a blackface incident involving a senior scientist.
Collaborative and integrated team development that centers DEI and anti-racism allows teams to develop strategic initiatives with goals and action items. This work aims to foster an inclusive culture within teams, departments, divisions, labs and clinical settings that is grounded in our mission, values and anti-racist framework. Below are highlights of these efforts.
Fred Hutch is taking an authentic, affirming and active approach to sharing the message that Black, Indigenous, and all people of color and other minoritized and underrepresented people matter to us: in our science, in our community and beyond. The DEI Core Public Art and Community Dialogue Program celebrates and showcases the work of diverse artists within our community across our South Lake Union campus and in programming activities. The program also provides an opportunity for the selected artists to engage in dialogue with each other and representatives from Fred Hutch to inform their final commissioned work and future community initiatives.
For the first instance of this program, an artist from the Black community, Mark Modimola, was selected to create an original piece that visually represented our commitment to and solidarity with the Black community. The artwork was revealed at an event honoring the Juneteenth holiday to inspire deep reflection and conversation with our employees, our patients and our community.
The DEI Core, in partnership with Facilities and other teams and individuals across the Hutch, is leading a Gender-Inclusive & Accessible Spaces Initiative. This initiative seeks to engage the entire center in understanding and shifting the culture of gender inclusion and accessibility by ensuring that all spaces on campus are safe, accessible and usable for all Fred Hutch community members and guests. In late 2021 the GIAS workgroup completed a full review and tour of all campus buildings. The work will continue in a phased approach over five years. The preliminary report summarizes the workgroup’s findings and initial recommendations including:
Chartered through the DEI Core, employee resource groups (ERG) play a key role in fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment for everyone. The ERGs focus on developing and encouraging a deep sense of community, connection and growth at Fred Hutch. These voluntary, employee-led groups serve to add value to the organization and strengthen retention. The DEI Core serves as each ERG’s primary partner in achieving group-specific goals and objectives.
The DEI Core's BIPOC Caucus is a community initiative centering the voices and experiences of Black, Indigenous, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, South Asian, Asian and Asian American people. The caucus prioritizes joy and wellness as a part of the ongoing work within and outside of the Hutch to thrive despite systems of oppression and domination.
Through the caucus, 281 members of Fred Hutch's community have attended the monthly meetings
The Community of Employees for Racial Equity (CERE) is committed to serving the Fred Hutch community. CERE gives voice to racial and ethnic minorities, promotes employee engagement through diversity and inclusion initiatives, and celebrates successes through inclusive representation in internal and external communications.
The biggest event, held in collaboration other ERGs and affiliate groups with FHREE and Hutch United, was National Minority Health Month Programming. Each Wednesday in April a guest speaker spoke with the Hutch community about a specific community group and the health inequities they face.
Fred Hutch Rainbow Employees for Equity (FHREE) provides community for LGBTQIA+ employees. The mission of FHREE is to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all LGBTQIA+ faculty and staff by celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ community at Fred Hutch and by advocating to the DEI Core for intersectional LGBTQIA+ equity. A favorite program was when members of FHREE gave small presentations of transgender individuals and their accomplishments for Transgender Day of Visibility.
In partnership with the Office of Education and Training, Hutch United (HU) plays a key role in fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment for scientists and scientific support staff at all levels and positions. Hutch United’s efforts span community building, professional development, and access to resources.
Programming like the annual Hutch United Symposium offer opportunities for members and affiliates to present their science and/or the DEI work they do. The event consists of keynote speakers, short talks and poster presentations.
Several scientific programs have been engaged in efforts to expand their DEI efforts:
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division
VIDD research spans the globe, with laboratory, clinical and field sites in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. The division has specific initiatives in Uganda and South Africa to advance the understanding of infection-related cancers and infectious diseases that affect high-risk populations in these regions
Applying the DEI lens to COVID-19 research and outreach, the VIDD faculty have built on decades of experience in HIV prevention research, adopting a distinct focus on how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the URM in the U.S. They have also undertaken considerable efforts to not only recruit URM to COVID-19 studies but also communicate the value of the science to these communities. Community engagement efforts for CoVPN and HVTN resulted in diversity and inclusion at all stages of the research process in the U.S. government-funded vaccine trials. Community Working Groups and scientific expert panels were composed of URM scientists, advocates and policymakers who have dedicated their careers to working with and within URM communities. To identify barriers to URM engagement and to provide guidance and direction on eliminating these barriers, these panels focused on ways to engage URMs in the review of protocols, informed consent forms and educational materials. Forty-seven percent of participants at CoVPN sites identified as BIPOC.
CoVPN and HVTN teams have held and partnered in over 75 webinar/townhall events reaching over 200,000 people via direct attendance and over 3 million people through post-event views of content. Some of the partner organizations include, but are not limited to: AARP, the National Urban League, UnidosUS, the National Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the Latino Commission on AIDS, the National Minority Quality Forum, the Urban Indian Health Institute, the Black AIDS Institute, the Treatment Action Group and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Patient navigators are culturally sensitive staff who help guide patients through their time at SCCA. Patient navigator, Lenora Starr, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon, has connected with 75 Indigenous patients during the fiscal year. Starr’s work touches both the prevention and navigation side of cancer care. She works with Indigenous patients and communities to help them understand the important difference between ceremonial and commercial tobacco use. Additionally, Starr meets with newly diagnosed patients and families who identify as Indigenous, assisting them with whatever services or comforts they may need, whether it’s connecting them with transportation, lodging, counseling services or financial resources; or teaching visiting relatives how to use Seattle’s bus system.
Fred Hutch has been selected as a partner site for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Health Equity Report Card (HERC) Pilot Project, an 18-month study to evaluate the performance of the HERC in identifying and measuring health care practices with the potential to advance equitable care within our organization. The pilot project started May 9th, 2022. Fred Hutch joins other cancer centers, including Memorial Sloan Kettering and Roswell Park, to address low-scoring areas of practice identified by HERC scores. The center will address these areas by building specific strategies to improve equitable care delivery.
Fred Hutch’s catchment area is now the entire state of Washington. Expanding beyond the original 13 counties in western Washington provides an opportunity to reach more communities throughout the state. As a result of the expansion, an additional Community Health Educator has been hired for Spokane and a second position will be filled. The Spokane office officially opened on July 1, 2022.
For National Minority Health Month in April 2022, the Office of Government & Community Relations partnered with Fred Hutch’s employee resource group Community of Employees for Racial Equity (CERE). The month-long programming included speakers from community groups who presented on and discussed health inequities and strategies for improving health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority groups with our audiences. In addition, for the second year the programming included op-eds focused on health equity in minority groups penned by the high school students participating in Fred Hutch’s Summer High School Internship Program or the Science Education Partnership.
African American Health Board Dream Again Campaign, Chief Seattle Club, Greater Seattle Business Association and the LGTBQIA+ community, NAACP/Seattle Urban League, Pacific Islander Community Association of WA, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Indian Health Board, Urban Indian Health Institute
To increase the diversity in the next generation of scientists, the Philanthropy team employed DEI fundraising strategies and community engagement targeted to increase awareness and elevate the understanding of the funding needs to support health disparities research, community health educators and internships. These strategies included donor education in the areas of health inequities and health disparities research. Donors were introduced to Fred Hutch’s exceptional BIPOC researchers and projects that support underserved populations. This provided donors with a deeper understanding of DEI needs in program funding and research. The Philanthropy team created a DEI Case for Support and refreshed their Education Case for Support to guide their DEI fundraising efforts.
Dr. Kemi Doll’s SISTER (Social Interventions for Support During Treatment for Endometrial Cancer and Recurrence) study, Cook for Your Life, The Office of Community Outreach and Engagement – community health educators, The Black in Cancer graduate internship program, The Office of Education & Training – Summer High School Internship Program
Our commitment is clear and the work before us is sobering and inspiring. We are on an active journey to ensure DEI principles and practices energize our mission to find cures for cancer and infectious diseases and deliver the highest quality of compassionate care to our patients. We are making steady progress as we continue to prioritize the opportunities that will accelerate our outcomes and impact. The work ahead of us requires consistency, collaboration and continuous learning in support of equity-conscious action. We recognize the urgency of our mission and remain steadfast in our efforts.
The work ahead of us requires consistency, collaboration and continuous learning in support of equity-conscious action.
We appreciate all our partners across the Hutch who have engaged with the DEI Core this past year. We value you, your voices and your efforts. Thank you for your continued support and the progress we will make together.
“Cures start here, and cures start with a culture that fosters innovation, an inclusive culture that responds to diverse experiences and diverse expressions of disease.
Diversity, equity and inclusion work is critical to the mission of Fred Hutch.”
– Dr. Paul Buckley, Vice President, Chief Diversity Equity & Inclusion Officer
Header Image: Valeria Maria Velez-Galiano, a Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) intern from Puerto Rico, works in the Clurman Lab with her mentor Ahmed Diam Ph.D. at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington.
Written by Kaci Bray, Paul Buckley & Christopher Li. Designed by Sarah Jo White. Photography by Robert Hood/Fred Hutch News Service.
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