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M. D. Anderson Announces Appointment for New Institutional Diversity Position

M. D. Anderson Announces Appointment for New Institutional Diversity Position
M. D. Anderson News Release 03/22/00

Dr. Harry R. Gibbs has been appointed to the new position of vice president for institutional diversity at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Gibbs, who joined the medical staff in 1990, has served as associate vice president for diversity programs since 1995. The past four years, he has combined those duties with his responsibilities as chief of the Section of Cardiology.

"The creation of this new position reflects M. D. Anderson's emphasis on integrating diversity into our organization's culture, promoting an inclusive environment that actively values diversity among all our employees, patients and families, and the broader community," said Dr. John Mendelsohn, president of M. D. Anderson.

"While Dr. Gibbs has successfully worked with faculty and staff to help develop a more diverse and academically competitive workforce, increased attention is needed to address these and other important issues presented by the institution's unprecedented growth."

M. D. Anderson's workforce recently passed the 10,000 mark, an all-time high, and could increase to as many as 15,000 employees over the next five years to meet the cancer center's growing needs in research and patient care.

As Dr. Mendelsohn outlined in a strategic vision for the next five years, one of M. D. Anderson's goals for achievement and growth is to empower employees of diverse backgrounds with increased authority, responsibility and accountability in a multidisciplinary setting. "This can be accomplished in part by establishing a positive work environment in which we nurture, train, and promote advancement for employees who do not look and think alike," Dr. Mendelsohn said.

Reporting directly to Dr. Mendelsohn, Dr. Gibbs will plan, develop and implement specific programs to continuously assess and improve diversity performance, with "diversity" defined in its broadest and most inclusive sense.

Among his initial actions, Dr. Gibbs will coordinate a "cultural self-assessment" of M. D. Anderson to objectively measure how the institution is currently situated in terms of providing a comfortable and nurturing work environment for its diverse personnel. This self-assessment may include focus groups and surveys of employees on such issues as the culture, attitudes, and policies and procedures at M. D. Anderson that may affect the goal of becoming a more diverse organization.

He also plans to work closely with the cancer center's staffing and training areas to ensure M. D. Anderson is hiring and developing a diverse group of employees who can help the institution meet its mission.

"We can continue to grow as a diverse organization by learning what each individual does well and determine how it can add value to the institution. Diversity means all of the things which differentiate one person from another. We want to recognize and utilize these unique qualities found in each employee, in the pursuit of the overall vision and mission of the institution. In addition, we want to ensure that we appropriately reward employees for their unique contributions to this effort," Dr. Gibbs said.

While Dr. Gibbs will continue some of his clinical duties, he will give up his role as chief of cardiology so that he can spend the majority of his time working on diversity issues.


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center