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Diversity and Inclusion

What is Diversity?  

Diversity can be defined as the collective mixture of any differences and similarities among all persons in the MD Anderson environment. While diversity has historically meant differences in race, gender, age and other classic dimensions, differences in education, age, thinking and communication styles, marital status and religious beliefs are also considered to be manifestations of diversity. As the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, we must take a closer look at our organizational culture in order to create a working environment that effectively attracts, retains, develops and utilizes all employees.

Office of the Chief Diversity Officer

The Office of the Chief Diversity Officer directs and monitors all programs that fulfill MD Anderson’s commitment to diversity. Harry Gibbs, M.D., Chief Diversity Officer, says “our commitment to diversity is the commitment that we’re going to go into every neighborhood, every population center and get rid of cancer, and what that’s going to require is a customized approach to each and every group.”
MD Anderson’s diversity initiative initiates and directs cultural change, with a focus on:

  • Representing the population that we serve
  • Becoming the employer of choice in the Texas Medical Center
  • Eradicating cancer and its associated illnesses in all populations

Our goals include (but are not limited to): an improvement in the organization’s ability to attract, develop and retain an outstanding diverse workforce, with the term “diversity” defined in its broadest and most inclusive sense, integrating the diversity strategy with other change initiatives and linking diversity to the institution’s business and strategic plan.


Ten Steps to Diversity

Learn more about the characteristics of an inclusive organization. (pdf)

Diversity Council

Diversity Council is an institutional committee which develops strategies that attract and retain superior talent and assist MD Anderson in enhancing its diverse workforce that is in balance with the communities we serve. Diversity includes racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, religious beliefs, as well as thought, skill and ambition.

Employee Networks

MD Anderson employee networks serve as a vehicle to voice ideas, foster support systems, and promote the professional development of diversity, e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation. Networks are open to all employees. Currently, the institution sponsors the following:

  • Organization for Women - The mission of the Organization for Women is to promote career growth, success and retention of women at MD Anderson. The Network identifies, examines and fosters work solutions that are important to women and that recognize the contributions of women. For more information,
  • Organization for Multicultural Employees - The mission of the OME is to proactively influence the recruitment, development, retention and productivity of multicultural employees by providing leadership to strengthen and advance diversity throughout all levels of MD Anderson, fostering an employee-focused culture. 
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Network - The purpose of the GLBTN is to ensure that sexual orientation and gender identity are not barriers to full participation in the professional and academic workplace; to present recommendations for increasing awareness and tolerance of GLBT issues through the Diversity Council; and to foster a sense of community for GLBT employees.
  • Cancer in the Workplace Employee Network - The Cancer in the Workplace Employee Network was established by employees who are interested in supporting and promoting an inclusive workplace. The Network identifies the issues and concerns of our employees who are affected by cancer, focusing on our core values and mission. 
  • PeopleFirst Network - The purpose of the PeopleFirst Network is to promote a more inclusive work environment for individuals with disabilities and to educate all employees about individuals with disabilities in the workplace. Through education and advocacy, all employees will develop a greater understanding about hidden and overt disabilities that may impact individuals with disabilities in our workplace to be in alignment with MD Anderson’s core values.
  • Military Veterans Connection (MVC) Employee Network - The mission of the Military Veterans Connection Employee Network is to foster awareness, understanding and appreciation of veterans, active duty and reserve employees, patients and students through interactions, dialogue, education and collaboration. The purpose of the MVC Employee Network is to recruit, develop, retain and provide resources for veterans, active duty and reserve employees, patients and students.

Diversity Education

Multiple training courses are available to all employees.


Lenses of Diversity

  • Dimensions of diversity: This model illustrates some of the dimensions of diversity that exist among MD Anderson employees.
    • Center level: (age, gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and physical ability) describes dimensions of diversity that are at the core of who we are
    • Next level: (work experience, marital status, religion, parental status, etc.) describes dimensions that may seem invisible until these dimensions of diversity are discovered through conversation 
    • The outermost level: employees’ respective work conditions and situations
    • At MD Anderson, our patients and employees add a third level of dimension to the model represented in the outermost layer. Everyone arrives at MD Anderson with some aspect of the first and second levels of the model. However, employees' and patients' respective conditions and situations are the third dimension of diversity. We must be aware of and be sensitive to these characteristics when interacting with co-workers, patients and their families.
  • Our diverse consumer: As the population ages, there will be more people over the age of 65 leading to an increase of those seeking cancer treatment. In view of these growing and changing patient demographics we must pay closer attention to how we deliver care to the diverse patients we treat
  • Our diverse workforce: We respect and value the unique perspective that each employee contributes to our institution. Embracing our differences and similarities enables us to serve our patients and be more successful in our jobs. Effective diversity management eliminates barriers that prevent us from working as a team. By respecting each other for whom we are and the skills we bring to MD Anderson, we are better positioned to achieve MD Anderson's mission. We draw upon the skills and experiences of a diverse workforce to solve the challenges that face us in delivering our services
  • Diversity at MD Anderson is not just important, it's essential. We are a hugely diverse group of people with differing beliefs, backgrounds and skills. We must work together. But we also are compartmentalized, dispersed and come to work with all kinds of values, expectations and points-of-view, with views of the world that also can be different.

Employee Demographics FY14


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Earn CME Credit: Culturally Competent Care Videos

Cancer disproportionately affects minority communities in the United States. Our Culturally Competent Care video series provides insight for physicians and health care professionals into the cultural differences that affect a patient's health care decisions.

Earn CME Credit: 
Culturally Competent Care 

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center