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.
Dr. Paul Buckley
Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
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.
As we reset the foundational employee data that will inform our goals and work at Fred Hutch, we aspire to collect and share meaningful data that will reflect the rich and complex diversity of our workforce. We will continue to work toward gathering and displaying additional data from surveys and other assessments to meet that goal.
Recognizing and appreciating our diverse talent is only the beginning. Developing our talented workforce and our leadership at all levels is critical to actuating our mission. Diversity is an active process. Equitable and inclusive outcomes are rooted in that energy.
See the gains we have made by our efforts in setting a research and clinical agenda and equity-conscious talent acquisition strategies, in cultivating support in our giving community, in bolstering support for underrepresented minority trainees, and in ensuring our entire enterprise supports advancements in supplier diversity. We are still early in our journey and we are applying the DEI lens to every aspect of our operation.
Continued outreach and participation in career events have created new opportunities for connection and expanded pathways to careers at Fred Hutch, with an emphasis on engaging diverse populations. Strategies to grow awareness of opportunities at the Hutch include increased advertising on sites with a focus on outreach to diverse groups and utilizing additional sourcing tools. Virtual platforms for events and career fairs have provided an opportunity to increase the number of organizations and schools with which we partner. Recruiters attended 31 events that included job fairs, including: Women Tech Seattle 2021, CareerWorks$ Medical, Women in Bio, Bellevue College Diversity & Inclusion Job Fair, University of Texas El Paso, HireX Seattle Veterans, Hire GI, and Worksource Renton.
The Director’s Office developed and recruited a new Fred Hutch Cancer Center Board of Directors (BoD) and Board of Advisors (BoA) with the goal of increasing the presence of individuals from marginalized or excluded backgrounds and who have professional or personal commitments to DEI. From the earliest conversations around the development of these leadership bodies, it was critical to Tom Lynch, Paul Ramsey and Nancy Davidson that our board represent a diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences that align with our community more broadly. The process of identifying, prioritizing and soliciting new members kept this goal in mind. Ultimately, both the BoD and the BoA have a higher representation of non-white members as well as a greater representation of women, and there is LGBTQIA+ representation also.
Since July 2021, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) representative sits on each search committee. Dr. Christopher Li, vice president of Faculty Affairs and Diversity, attends all search committee kick-off meetings and meets with all URM candidates in the interview process. The search committee is required to watch DEI education videos and use the rubric put out by The DEI Core for evaluating faculty candidate DEI statements, which are now required. Additionally, intentional work with the faculty recruiter is part of the search process and includes posting on more online platforms to reach early-career investigators and clinicians, and strategizing with committees to capture URM websites, journals, job boards and community outreach. A salary recommendation form was developed to ensure that internal equity is analyzed in addition to market data. Efforts to diversify the hematology-oncology fellows have been ongoing. This three-year program, with a total of 24 fellows, received around 450 applications every year for eight first-year slots. Drs. Paul Buckley and Li participate in the recruitment process by meeting applicants and discussing DEI efforts at our institution. URM applicants have an opportunity to interview with faculty and fellows with similar backgrounds.
Infectious Disease Sciences (IDS) is participating in a pilot project with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division to increase the diversity in our candidate pool. IDS is piloting four positions as part of this effort with multiple faculty members/managers: Regulatory Affairs Associate (L. Fan), Clinical Research Coordinator I and II (J. Hill), and Research Tech I (Stevens-Ayers/Boeckh Lab).
The Philanthropy department implemented a number of more inclusive and equitable hiring and employment practices. These included updating job descriptions to support inclusion practices, including salary ranges in postings and implementing standardized criteria for hiring panels and candidate evaluation. Philanthropy also partnered with the Human Resource Department to advance pay equity, increased transparency on budget and promotion practices, and established a Philanthropy/Marketing & Communications BIPOC caucus.
Fred Hutch created a new Office of Faculty Affairs and Diversity (OFAD) that is designed to bring a lens of DEI to the recruitment, retention, development and mentorship of scientific faculty. Led by Dr. Christopher Li, OFAD is strategically positioned under the Director's Office (DO) to develop and implement center wide academic and faculty policies more efficiently. OFAD also works closely with the DEI Core to develop and implement center-wide faculty and academic policies regarding all aspects of DEI related to the faculty. This includes working with other center leadership in career development activities such as faculty recruitment and mentorship. While the initial focus is on DEI, over time this office will assume a larger responsibility for center-wide policies.
Within the clinical space, service line management created and hired a program coordinator funded by an American Cancer Society grant. Co-principal investigators are Dr. Rachel Yung and Dr. Addie McClintock. This role is a patient navigator dedicated to increasing the screening mammography rate in Black and African American women, with targeted outreach to patients who are due or overdue for screening exams. The patient navigation team has tackled long-standing barriers and complexities that have made it difficult for patients to connect with care. Through the patient navigation program, navigators help patients connect to various resources and our system of care. The patient navigation team started with two full-time employees, with partial funding from grants, and has increased to a total of 6.8 team members who are fully funded by the institution. Currently, the center is applying for grants to continue growing the patient navigation team.
Funding sources are also being secured to grow and develop the New-Patient Nurse Navigation team. This team of nurses will be a resource for new patients who are in the process of being diagnosed or have diagnoses to access multi-disciplinary care coordination. The goal for the next 12-18 months is to fully fund a team of nine registered nurses that can serve in this important capacity for the benefit of our patients.
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.
We maintained an overall diverse recruitment pool at 53% during a period of overall decline in the job market through expanded outreach efforts, new organizational connections and external sharing of our DEI commitments. We have increased diversity in our new hires, significantly expanded the diversity of our new Board of Directors and Board of Advisors and increased our representation of URM and women in the faculty applicant pool. We look forward to asserting new strategies to increase interest from URM candidates and to increase new hires at all levels and in all areas across the center. Additionally, we plan to strengthen our efforts to understand and support the retention of our workforce.
Our goal is to maintain and enhance the entire Fred Hutch as an excellent place to work, where employees are empowered with awareness and skills to co-create an inclusive culture of belonging. Our comprehensive educational initiative, Fearless IDEAs (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Anti-racism and Anti-oppression), along with our monthly Forums, inclusive and connective spaces such as the BIPOC Caucus, and activities that reinforce DEI principles and values, all serve as an effective framework for developing capacity among our workforce. Across the organization, departments are empowered to engage content relevant to the highlighted topics for learning and behaviors that support our DEI aspirations.
Led by the DEI Core, these monthly forums engage our community in dialogue about racism and other forms of oppression. The virtual forums have included panels, dialogue groups and speakers. Our forums have been attended by 3,714 employees over the past year. Topics have included:
A key feature of this initiative is that it rebuffs “diversity training” by engaging participants in a design for continuous education that involves pre-work, a live module, evaluation survey and post-work constructed for participants to integrate learning with their everyday work. Four learning projects will engage Hutch employees over the course of about two years. The initiative engages all Hutch employees in continuous learning to increase awareness, develop competencies and implement practices in our shared responsibility to make and sustain an inclusive and equitable center. The initiative positions the Hutch as a national and international leader in DEI work.
The graphs here describe our progress for participation at the time of writing this report. All areas of the center are actively participating. The first module has been completed by 1,645 employees.
“Thank you for the thoughtful presentation today – including the prework and all that went into making this session very meaningful and real…”
– Fearless IDEAs Attendee
"Today was absolutely amazing, I learned so much about myself through the incredibly helpful prework and during the training itself.”
– Fearless IDEAs Attendee
The Crucial Conversations course focuses on building skills in giving and receiving feedback and creating an environment in which increased listening and learning exists. These are foundational skills needed in our community as we build toward an anti-racist organization in which individuals can speak up and have honest conversations. Throughout FY22, the HR Learning team has increased course offerings and launched four cohorts for the Crucial Conversations courses to 49 participants. The Organization, Development & Learning team has increased the number of certified instructors who are able to deliver in-person and virtual programs.
Fred Hutch confronted one of the ways racism manifests in individual behaviors that reflect an organizational culture of whiteness, which can devastate efforts to disrupt it. In response to a past incident of blackface being worn by a member of our community on our campus coming to light, this process was activated to interrogate our organizational culture. This was challenging for our community and our efforts are ongoing. Through shared learning, shared understanding and shared ownership, Fred Hutch took steps within this process to further examine our organization's dominant culture both past and present. Our shared truths reflected how we have experienced this culture, how we experience it now, and how we take responsibility for it. Taking this responsibility and its impact informed our responsibility, accountability and ownership to shape a more inclusive, anti-racist future. This process included:
These monthly workshops for new Fred Hutch faculty include specific sessions with DEI focus, such as “Recruiting to Ensure Inclusion and Equity” and “Creating an Inclusive Team.” DEI concepts are also interwoven into all the monthly sessions. These workshops have been consistently well attended.
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.
The DEI committee in the Statistical Center for HIV/AIDS Research & Prevention (SCHARP) partnered with Dr. Buckley and The DEI Core to develop a 58-question survey to provide additional visibility and accountability to the culture and environment surrounding DEI within SCHARP. The anonymous survey provides the opportunity for SCHARP to assess and learn where we currently stand with regards to DEI, and measure how impactful our current and future efforts are in addressing the challenges and opportunities the survey illuminates. It also helps inform where to direct our future efforts to be most impactful for SCHARP staff. Through this work, SCHARP added DEI recruiting resources to the Manager Toolkit and a DEI introductory learning module to staff onboarding materials.
Within Clinical Operations, VPs and directors engaged in developing a competency framework with a focus on contributing to the culture of DEI. This area seeks to develop leaders’ ability to build a culture of inclusion where all people, perspectives, languages, behaviors, beliefs and culture are considered, appreciated, valued and leveraged in a way that best supports fair treatment and opportunities for patients and staff. Efforts included developing a curriculum for a shared learning experience for operational leadership to enhance our awareness and competence.
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:
Members of the Gender-Inclusive & Accessible Spaces (GIAS) Workgroup: Kaci Bray (she/her), Paul Buckley (he/him), Donna Gissen (she/her), Tariq Knaan (he/him), Anders McConachie (he/him), Polly Newcomb (she/her), Emma Nyland (she/her), Ashley Perez (she/her), Val Rie Smith (she/her), Jillian Whitton (she/her).
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.
With a firm commitment to continuous education, the center is engaged in learning how to reduce and disrupt biases through the Bias Mitigation Education module. The DEI Core, HR Learning and Development and the Office of Education and Training have contributed to the awareness and skill building that empowers employees in our journey to inclusion. We have conducted assessments to learn about employee experiences that inform our plans and activities. Through these assessments, opportunities to strengthen employees’ sense of belonging and deepen managers’ capacity for building inclusive teams have been identified. Our ERGs, affiliate groups and the BIPOC Caucus are engaged in delivering impactful programs that support learning, connection and community.
Our research agenda for cancer and other infectious diseases dovetails with our interest in disparities and equity pursuits. From our responsive and community-focused efforts in vaccine trials to our support for enriching the ecosystem of diverse future scientists, we are engaged in meaningful efforts to change the research landscape. We recognize that our outlook on the value of all human life, our community relationships and our understanding of history inform how we think about, conduct and communicate our research.
Dr. Trang VoPham, seen here, is an epidemiologist and geospatial scientist whose research focuses on understanding the role of place or location — particularly environmental exposures — in health. Her research interests include geospatial science, health disparities, liver disease and cancer.
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.
The network of GMaP hubs is funded by the National Cancer Institute as a supplement to the Fred Hutchinson-University of Washington-Seattle Children's Cancer Consortium Cancer Center Support Grant. The overarching goals of GMaP are to enhance workforce diversity and to promote cancer health disparities research. This is accomplished by identifying and implementing strategies that will create sustainable partnerships to enhance disparities research and career development for underrepresented populations (spanning undergraduate/postbaccalaureate, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty). The GMaP network divides the country into six different regions and we at Fred Hutch have led the efforts of Region 5 since 2009. Region 5 consists of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and California. The program is currently led by Dr. Li and Sara Cole.
Funded by research grants held by Drs. Riki Peters and Chris Li, TRPCD addresses colorectal cancer disparities among Alaska Native, African American, Latinx and non-Hispanic Whites. It is funded by the following grants: 1. NCI P20 grant: Translational Research Program in Colorectal Cancer Disparities; 2. The V Foundation for Cancer Research: Evaluation of the biological basis for disparities in colorectal outcomes among Alaska Native people; and 3. Goldman Sachs Foundation: An Integrative Multi-Omics Approach to Improving Our Understanding of Colorectal Cancer Disparities in African American and Alaska Native People.
The Faith Initiative addresses the impact of COVID-19 and HIV in faith communities, particularly those composed largely of Black, Latinx, and American Indian/Alaskan Native people. The initiative mobilizes faith leaders nationally to spearhead and support COVID-19/CoVPN education and awareness activities, which integrate anti-racist, anti-xenophobic, anti-homophobic and Good Participatory Practice principles with the common values reflected in the sacred texts of various religions. The initiative team includes seven faith ambassadors working across the country with more than 40 local and /regional faith leaders and organizations to increase the understanding of COVID-19 and the related vaccine trials within these communities. This initiative has been very successful at building trust in the scientific research process, resulting in many faith organizations supporting the COVID-19 vaccine trials and encouraging their congregations to set up vaccinations centers in their facilities. We have recently pivoted to launch an HVTN Faith Initiative, building on the momentum and impact we have seen in our COVID-19 faith community engagement.
Since 2009, the HANC Legacy Project has worked to address issues that influence the participation of underrepresented populations in HIV clinical research. The HANC Legacy Project’s Representative Studies Rubric (RSR) reveals, through evidence-based methodologies, the systemic and institutionalized practices within clinical research that perpetuate the exclusion of underrepresented populations. In 2022, the Legacy Project is dedicated to supporting the vaccine trial networks and all their study teams in implementing the RSR as a protocol development tool.
Located on First Hill, VTU is dedicated to working with diverse populations, including groups who are statistically heavily impacted by health disparities and are usually underrepresented in research. Highlights of VTU’s community outreach efforts include: collaborations with Pacific Northwest Black Pride, a new program of POCAAN focusing on Black LGBTQ communities; consultations with Public Health – Seattle &King County/University of Washington’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) and community needs assessment surveys for transgender/non-binary women/femmes; and community education with U.T.O.P.I.A. (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance) Seattle, which works to bridge gaps between communities and strengthen the identities of queer and trans Pacific Islanders through community organizing, community care and civic engagement.
Research in the Public Health Sciences Division is focused on finding creative and innovative ways to learn about the causes of cancer, to determine how it can be detected early or prevented, to establish new methodologies to design and assess biomedical research and to create computational models to address biological questions.
Funded by research grants held by Drs. Riki Peters and Christopher Li, TRPCD addresses colorectal cancer disparities among Alaska Native, African American, Latinx and non-Hispanic Whites. It is funded by the following grants: 1. NCI P20 grant: Translational Research Program in Colorectal Cancer Disparities; 2. The V Foundation for Cancer Research: Evaluation of the biological basis for disparities in colorectal outcomes among Alaska Native people; and 3. Goldman Sachs Foundation: An Integrative Multi-Omics Approach to Improving Our Understanding of Colorectal Cancer Disparities in African American and Alaska Native People.
We are pursuing DEI goals in research, from developing a more diverse ecosystem of next-generation scientists to increasing the diversity of endowed chairs among our faculty. We are also changing the perspective and approaches of our overall research agenda through inclusive research methods and by engaging community and pursuing equity in outcomes. Throughout the next fiscal year, we will work to bring disparities research and equity solutions into greater focus and deepen our partnerships with Indigenous communities.
As a patient-centered organization, we are intentional about providing greater access to the highest quality of care and outcomes for every person from every community. We continue to find ways of understanding, improving and sustaining an excellent patient experience. We are simultaneously learning from and supporting our patients in real time, while pursuing new ways to measure and benchmark our progress.
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.
We continue to support our patients by investing in their screening and navigation experiences. We are building and expanding the infrastructure for data collection and responses to inequities we perceive in emergency room visits, pain management and delays in screening. Looking ahead, we will focus on boosting our engagement of patient voices in our efforts and deepen our understanding of their experiences. Additionally, we want to ensure that staff and providers have the tools and knowledge they need to provide the highest quality of care for every life they encounter.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is a leader in cancer research and care, and in incorporating DEI work into our mission. We demonstrate our leadership within the contexts of our scientific research and clinical care, among organizations and peers, and as conscientious neighbors in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. and the world.
Desiring to learn, grow, influence, and impact, we share our expertise, plans and progress in partnership with other individuals and institutions. Our relationships and the communities in which we find membership and partnership are critical to our work.
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 partnerships continue to grow and strengthen throughout the nation, region and state. The center continues to provide support to local and state representatives and constituents and to partner with communities impacted by health disparities. As we move this work forward, we look to strengthen our strategy and cohesion of our community relations and partnership efforts. Synergizing our internal network and priorities will be key as we continue to build strong community partnerships that are aligned with our mission.
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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