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)

Somali TV COVID/COVID Vaccine Live Panel Discussion (12/13/2021): Our SCEI committee coalesced a panel of experts most of whom are well-recognized and respected in the Somali community to provide accurate and timely education about the COVID vaccine and the most up to date COVID information. The purpose of this panel discussion was to encourage COVID vaccination by addressing many of the myths related to the COVID vaccine, and to encourage the general Somali population to get caught up on routine childhood vaccinations. The panel consisted of: Dr. Michael Osterholm, Dr. Osman Harare, Dr. Beth Theilen, and Asli Ashkir, MPH, RN, and the one-hour panel discussion was broadcasted live on the Somali TV of Minnesota. It was streamed live on Facebook and as of 12/31/2021 achieved 56,000 views. Costs for this live broadcast were generously covered by the Department of Pediatrics Chair Funds (Dr. Joe Neglia).

Somali Radio Live COVID Education Session (10/22/2021): Our committee coordinated and conducted a live one-hour educational session via a very popular Somali radio channel (Somali American Radio Minneapolis). The session involved questions and answers related to COVID-19 presented by Asli Askir, MPH, RN, and answered live on air by Dr. Beth Theilen with responses translated instantly to the Somali language. This was followed by audience call-in questions. The session was well received, and the audience requested similar timely educational sessions through the Somali media.

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

Radio interview