University of Colorado Cancer Center
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Our Commitment


The mission of the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is to foster an environment that champions health equity and offers the highest level of care to all patients, most especially those populations who have been historically excluded from and mistreated by the healthcare system.


We aim to identify and directly address our current areas of improvement, from hiring practices all the way to clinical trial enrollment. We are committed to making active changes to ensure that the patient population we serve is reflected and represented in our organization at every level.


By focusing on the makeup of our leadership, faculty, and staff, and directly recruiting individuals dedicated to the advancement of our core ideals and the field of oncology, the University of Colorado Cancer Center is committed to positively influencing healthcare in our community and advocating for health equity and access for all. 

To learn more about what Anschutz Medical Campus' Central Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement is doing, please click here.

Charges of the Cancer Center DEI Committee

  1. Have Cancer Center leadership that represents the catchment (Colorado) and nationally
  2. Have Cancer Center faculty and staff that represent the catchment (Colorado) and nationally
  3. Do everything possible to recruit trainees to the Cancer Center that represent the catchment (Colorado) and nationally
  4. Ensure the clinical trials population and research activities of the Cancer Center reflect the catchment (Colorado) and nationally

DEI Highlight of the Month

Every month the CU Cancer Center DEI Committee recognizes a Cancer Center faculty, staff, or adjunct member for their efforts in support of the DEI mission of the CU Cancer Center.

This month we would like to highlight Katia Niño.

Katia started her higher education journey in a community college with little knowledge about biomedical research careers. She learned to use her limited resources to lift herself up and is now a PhD student in Dr. Eric Pietras’ lab.  She understands first-hand that community college students, many from groups historically under-represented (HUR) in the biomedical workforce, are a largely unrecognized pool of talent.

Since joining the Anschutz Medical Campus community, Katia has worked on "paying it forward." She is a board member of the Anschutz Medical Campus student chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native American Scientists (SACNAS), which does community outreach work, including creating opportunities for local community college students to learn about biomedical research careers. In 2022, with support from the CU Cancer Center’s Cancer Research and Training Education Coordination office (CRTEC), Katia led an effort to secure funds and create a summer research experience program specifically for students from HUR groups from local community colleges, the Community College to STEM (CC2STEM) program. This summer (June 2023), Katia’s efforts bore fruit when the CU Cancer Center and the Anschutz Medical Campus welcomed the inaugural CC2STEM class to campus. Katia deserves the CU Cancer Center DEI Highlight for her tireless commitment to the diversification of the biomedical workforce.

Katia Niño

Katia Niño


Know someone who deserves a DEI Highlight? Fill out a nomination form.


UCCC DEI Committee Members



Ian Brooks, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical Informatics

Director of Health Data Compass

Adela Cota-Gomez, PhD
Adela Cota-Gomez, PhD
Assistant Director for Education Administration,
Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC) Office
Anesha Henningham
Anesha Henningham 
PRMS Monitoring Coordinator,
Protocol Review and Monitoring System (PRMS) 

Fernando J. Kim, MD, MBA, FACS
Professor, Surgery, UCD

Chief Emeritus of Urology, DHMC

Editor-in-Chief AUA NEWS in Portuguese
Associate Editor of Patient Safety in Surgery Journal

Simon P. Kim, MD, MPH
Simon P. Kim, MD, MPH 
Professor, Surgery 

Associate Program Director 

Site Director 
Division of Urology
Jill Ogawa Lee

Jill Lee, MPH, CCRP
Regulatory Compliance and Quality Program Manager,
Cancer Clinical Trials Office (CCTO)

Jessica McDermott, MD, MSCS
Jessica McDermott, MD, MSCS
Assistant Professor, Medical Oncology 

Deputy AD for Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Research
Daniel Pacheco, MBA, PMP
Daniel Pacheco, MBA, PMP
Program Manager,
Office of Community Outreach and Engagement
Jill Penafiel
Education and Program Manager, 
Clay Smith, MD

Clay Smith, MD
Professor, Medicine - Hematology

Director, Blood Disorders and Cell Therapies Center, UCHealth 

Medical Director, CU Innovations
Ruth and Ralph Seligman Chair in Hematology 

Adam Stevens
Adam Stevens
CU Anschutz - Medical Student
Ellen Valentine 1
Ellen Valentine, M.Div
Cancer Center Operations Project Coordinator, 
Programs and Membership