Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access

Land Acknowledgement

The University of Colorado Cancer Center (CU Cancer Center) acknowledges that the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is built on the unceded lands of the Arapaho people. We likewise recognize the perseverance of the more than 70,000 American Indians representing the Southern Ute Indian, Ute Mountain Ute, Arapaho, Apache, Comanche, Shoshone, Cheyenne, and Lakota Tribes, the Navajo Nation, and more for whom Colorado is home. We acknowledge the horrendous histories of genocide and European colonization that caused historical trauma, and catalyzed systems of oppression perpetuating social, financial, emotional, and health care inequalities for Indigenous communities to this day. We commit to learning from these histories, partnering with communities and leaders, and acting with humility as we work to create more justice and equity for our Indigenous neighbors.

A Commitment to Diversity

At the University of Colorado Cancer Center (CU Cancer Center), we deem diversity in thought, perspective, lived experiences, and backgrounds to be essential for understanding and providing world-class health and cancer care to our diverse patient populations. We are, therefore, committed to the intentional development of a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and respectful academic community and workplace. Our office of DEIA will work with faculty, staff and leadership to recruit, engage and support individuals of all races, religions, national origins, genders, gender expressions, sexual orientations, ages, as well as veterans and individuals with disabilities. We will work with diverse patients, caregivers and community advisors to ensure that our DEIA efforts facilitate equitable and optimal care for all who are served by the CU Cancer Center.

At CU Cancer Center, our shared understanding of these terms are as follows:

Letter D (wooden block)

DiversityDiversity refers to who is represented in the CU Cancer Center workforce. At CU Cancer Center, we encourage diversity with regards to gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, and physical ability, as well as neurodiversity at all levels of our staff, faculty, and leadership. We hold that diversity of staff, faculty, health care providers, and leaders leads to diversity of thought, and advancement in our mission to overcome cancer.

Letter E (wooden block)

EquityEquity refers to fair treatment for ALL people at the CU Cancer Center (i.e. staff, faculty, health care providers, and leaders, as well as patients, their caregivers, and families). Whereas equality indicates that all people should be treated the same, equity takes into consideration an individual’s unique circumstances. We take this to mean that we must make institutional changes in social norms, practices, and policies to ensure that work related opportunities and outcomes are equal, and that all cancer related services are equal for our diverse populations.

Letter I (wooden block)

InclusionInclusion refers to how all employees of the CU Cancer Center (i.e. staff, faculty, and leaders) experience the workplace. This includes the degree to which we are able to create a culture of belonging, empower the voices of minoritized or marginalized staff, faculty, health care providers, or leaders; and encourage meaningful contributions at all levels of CU Cancer Center.

Letter A (wooden block)

AccessAccess refers to the opportunities available for persons with disabilities. At CU Cancer Center, we work to ensure that people with disabilities acquire the same information, materials, and opportunities as people without disabilities in an equally effective manner, and with equivalent ease of use. This includes but is not limited to information technologies (IT) and information and communication technologies (ICT) for accessibility, as well as accessible design of physical facilities.

Our Mission

To ensure that all aspects of cancer innovation, discovery, prevention, early detection, multidisciplinary care, education, and outreach at the CU Cancer Center incorporate and uphold the fundamental values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.

Our Vision

To facilitate integration of DEIA core values and practices across the CU Cancer Center by working toward the following aims:

  • develop a strong and diverse workforce
  • create an inclusive and equitable workplace
  • support interdisciplinary research that addresses health disparities experienced by our diverse patient populations
  • implement sustainable programs to train the next generation of diverse cancer researchers and health care providers
  • expand community partnerships and networks to ensure that our DEIA efforts lead to cancer health equity

The DEIA Leaders

Miria Kano, PhD

Miria Kano, PhD

Associate Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access


Curtis Henry, PhD

Deputy Associate Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access

CU Cancer Center DEIA Staff

Kari Kuka

Kari Kuka M.S.
DEIA Program Manager

Gequinn Mattox

Gequinn Mattox
Equity Events Coordinator

Andrea Pacheco

Andrea Pacheco
Administrative Coordinator

A Commitment to Health Equity

The CU Cancer Center and our Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) acknowledge the historical oppression of minoritized and marginalized populations that continues to negatively affect the health and survival outcomes of diverse patients with cancer. Persistent health and cancer care disparities are unacceptable. We therefore must remain mindful of past and present inequities in health care, and commit to taking action to eliminate unnecessary, avoidable, unfair, and unjust barriers to cancer care.

To these ends, the Office of DEIA works with CU Cancer Center leadership and community partners to ensure that principles of health equity are embedded in all levels of cancer center operations; guide cancer research to eliminate health disparities; and respond to the evolving needs of the community in order to achieve health and cancer care equity.

DEIA Micro-Grant Program Funding Requests

Our office of DEIA will work CU Cancer Center programs and departments to co-sponsor funding for faculty, staff, and leadership seeking DEIA-specific training, professional development, and DEIA-focused conference participation. Micro-grants are designed to foster a climate of diversity, and belonging, and to ensure that individuals have equitable opportunities to advance their careers and increase professional knowledge.

To request a micro-grant, please fill out  this form for any of the following:

  • Professional Development.
  • Conferences.
  • Meetings.
  • Trainings.


Our Aims

A. Develop an integrated office of DEIA across Cancer Center initiatives


  1. Establish the CU Cancer Center’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) Office to lead cancer center efforts to diversify its staff, membership, and leadership at faculty and staff levels.
  2. Collaborate with cores, departments, and programs across the cancer center to establish and implement infrastructures such as councils to mentor individuals, committees to address diversity, etc.
  3. Leverage institutional commitment and infrastructure to enhance diversity of the center’s membership and leadership. Establish criteria for monitoring and evaluating progress of diversity initiatives.

B. Create an inclusive and equitable workplace


  1. Enhance participation of women, minorities, and individuals from groups nationally under-represented in the research workforce, center leadership, and advisory boards.
  2. In collaboration with CU Cancer Center leadership, the Colorado School of Public Health, and Departments across the CU School of Medicine, the Office of DEIA will implement a recruitment and retention strategy to increase the number of women and persons from minoritized communities across all ranks of cancer center employment.
  3. Use special opportunities within the center’s catchment area to enhance diversity within CCSG-supported components (Senior Leadership, Research Programs, Shared Resources, Community Outreach and Engagement, etc.)

C. Support interdisciplinary research that addresses health disparities experienced by our diverse patient populations


  1. Establish infrastructure and utilize institutional resources to expand the pipeline of students, postdoctoral researchers, and co-investigators from diverse backgrounds, including those groups shown to be nationally underrepresented in research workforce through training or mentoring opportunities.
  2. Support career-enhancing research opportunities for junior, early- and mid-career researchers, including those from diverse backgrounds, to prepare them for center leadership.

D. Implement sustainable programs to recruit and train the next generation of diverse cancer researchers and health care providers:


  1. Partner with the CU Cancer Center’s Office of Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC) and with local and state elementary, middle, and high schools to inspire their education in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with an emphasis on cancer research.
  2. Collaborate with CRTEC on programs to train the next generation of cancer researchers and health care providers interested in caring for patients with cancer.

E. Expand community partnerships and networks to ensure that our DEIA efforts lead to cancer health equity


  1. In close partnership with the CU Cancer Center’s Office of Community Engagement and Outreach (COE) and community outreach programs such as the Colorado Black Health Collaborative, the Urban League of Denver, we will develop programs to educate diverse and underserved sectors of our community around topics pertaining to cancer prevention, detection, and care for patients with cancer.
  2. In collaboration with community leaders, we work with local and state government officials to create policies that support the health of our communities and enact programs to encourage the well-being of the cancer patients, caregivers, and families who seek care at the CU Cancer Center.
  3. We will work with national programs such as the American Cancer Society, Swim Across America, the American Association of Immunologists, and others to expand programs for underserved patients with cancer in Colorado, and to increase funding for cancer-related research and outreach programs.
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