Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Council

EDIC group
Pictured (L-R): Drs. Karim Sadak, Catherine Bendel, Matthew Armfield, Priya Verghese, and Kumar Belani; Robin Irwin

Established in Fall 2016, the Department of Pediatrics Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council (EDIC) developed a departmental plan to address both challenges and barriers in achieving our goal of a welcoming, equitable and inclusive environment for all department members.

Led by Dr. Catherine Bendel, Vice Chair for Equity and Diversity, and consisting of faculty members from across the Department of Pediatrics, EDIC is an action-oriented committee advisory to the Pediatrics Department Head. EDIC actions have included:

  • Developed the department Diversity statement
  • Planned semi-annual Grand Rounds, required for all faculty
  • Implemented Implicit Bias training, required for all faculty leadership, education program directors, and those involved in search committees and trainee recruitment
  • Created faculty awards to recognize outstanding EDI contributions
  • Partnered with Pediatrics Research Council for research funding to support underrepresented student researchers
  • Served on Medical School and University committees to further EDI interests

All department faculty are welcome to join EDIC. Please contact Dr. Cathy Bendel if you are interested.

Somali Community Engagement Initiative Committee (SCEIC)

Our committee developed a recorded Q and A session in the Somali language about COVID and the COVID-19 vaccine, hosted by a panel of 3 highly respected and trusted members of the Somali community: Asli Ashkir, MPH, RN, Dr. Osman Harare (formerly a physician in Somalia who is the co-founder and director of the East Africa Health Project and Somali Patient advocate at HCMC), and Adno Gatah, NP (a family nurse practitioner at Park Nicollet). The content was provided by Dr. Beth Theilen, Dr. Alex Boucher, and Asli Ashkir, MPH, RN, with input from our committee members. Production was led by Amy Gaug.

We also created a video outlining that it is safe to return to clinic despite the pandemic and describing what families could expect to see in clinic. It addressed many of the concerns that keep patients away and cause them to be behind on routine vaccinations and developmental assessments.  This video was conducted by partners from Community University Healthcare Center (CUHCC) and resident(s) in English, and a second version of it will have a Somali voice-over (in the works). Both videos were funded by a Progressive Grant (stage 1) that the Department of Pediatrics generously awarded us. The videos will be posted on YouTube and disseminated by our Somali community partners via their social media accounts to create easily accessible, credible, and free-of-charge information to the community.

To read more about this initiative, please follow this link.

Amy Gaug Asli A Beth Thielen Muna Sunni