Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2020 illuminated the need for change. In addition to its terrible toll on lives, health, and livelihood, COVID-19 shed light on health disparities and inequities facing our communities of color. The inexcusable killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others should make us understand our history of violence, as well as complacency toward the lives of Black people and other communities of color. These disparities and discrimination are uncomfortable truths we must face. To remain silent would make us complicit.

In terms of anti-racism, the Department of Surgery must be upstanders and not bystanders. As a group, we have developed our vision statement of “Improve Every Life” and our core values of Dedication, Excellence, Diversity, Integrity, Compassion, Advancing Innovation, Teamwork, and Exemplary Leadership. As a department, we are committed to the work of dismantling racism that impacts our profession, our patients, and our society. We all have biases, and we are committed to addressing them. There is no shortcut with this work, and we may stumble on our journey, but we will push ahead, because the end justifies the means.

Read more: Department of Surgery Makes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion a Priority


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission Statements



The Department of Surgery is committed to ensuring diversity among our faculty, staff and learners. We will maintain an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, reflects the diversity of the communities we serve, and brings to life the department’s vision of Improve Every Life.



We are steadfast in ensuring that our faculty, staff and learners can thrive in an equitable environment. This commitment ensures unbiased care and eliminates discrimination in all forms and at all levels. This is essential to our success. It will be achieved by aligning our policies, practices and resources so that people of all races, cultures, genders, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses have opportunities to thrive.



The Department of Surgery is dedicated to maintaining an environment of inclusivity where all members of our community feel valued and appreciated. We embrace the collective and individual talents, skills and perspectives of our faculty, staff and learners to foster a culture of excellence and innovation.

DEI Leadership

Richard Schulick, MD

Richard D. Schulick, MD, MBA, FACS
Professor & Chair, Dept. of Surgery
Director, CU Cancer Center
CU Anschutz Medical Campus
The Aragón/Gonzalez-Gíustí Chair

Kia Washington, MD

Kia Washington, MD, FACS
Vice Chair, Diversity & Inclusion
Professor of Surgery
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
CU Anschutz Medical Campus

DEI Committee

Recruitment & Retention

Jonathan Radin, MBA
Director of Clinical Strategy &
Program Development

Alejandro Lleras
Director of Human Resources &
Faculty Affairs

Rafael Malgor, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Vascular Surgery

Jason Owens, MPA
Division Administrative Director
Division of Urology

Education & Communication

Tracey MacDermott
Clinical Trials Manager

Brooke French, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Jacqueline Pelle
Project Coordinator

Ryan Roberts, MBA, RT(R)(T)
Director of Operations

Brian Shimamoto, MA Ed.
Organization and Employee Development Manager

Kathleen Tuthill
Director, Office of Education

Leadership Equity

Lauren Steward, MD, MHSA, MPHS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of GI, Trauma, &
Endocrine Surgery

Maria Albuja-Cruz, MD, FACS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of GI, Trauma, &
Endocrine Surgery

Joseph Cleveland, Jr., MD
Professor of Surgery
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Whitney Herter, PA-C
Division of Surgical Oncology

Equity, Transparency, & Justice

Elisa Birnbaum, MD
Professor of Surgery
Division of GI, Trauma, &
Endocrine Surgery

Gretchen Ahrendt, MD
Professor of Surgery
Division of Surgical Oncology

Stephanie Farmer
Vice Chair of Administration
Director of Finance & Administration

Laura Harmon, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of GI, Trauma, &
Endocrine Surgery

Aaron Mason, MD, FACS, FAAP
Visiting Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Plastic &
Reconstructive Surgery