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)

In September 2020, with support from the UMN Department of Pediatrics, and the Faculty Development Program, a faculty development session was held with a local panel of Somali community members and Somali healthcare professionals. The overwhelmingly positive response to this session led to the Department of Pediatrics creating the Somali Community Engagement Initiative Committee (SCEIC). Their goal is to collaborate with the local Somali community to identify practical and actionable areas where the Department of Pediatrics faculty and students can play a meaningful role in the Somali community.


The SCEIC is currently composed of Amy Gaug, C-TAGME, Asli Ashkir, MPH, RN, Beth Thielen, MD, PhD, and Muna Sunni, MBBCh, MS (Pictures, left to right, in that order). The SCEIC is pleased to have brought Asli Ashkir, RN into the department to serve on the SCEIC, conduct sessions for Pediatric faculty and trainees related to Somali cultural competencies and assist in outreach efforts. The committee was recently awarded a stage 1 Progressive Grant through the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics to assist with our Somali Community Outreach Online Project (SCOOP).

Amy Gaug Asli A Beth Thielen Muna Sunni