UT Southwestern serves a very diverse population throughout North Texas, and the institution aims to attract a campus community that reflects that diversity.
In his President’s Message on Diversity, President Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky said: “I believe that promoting diversity is a moral imperative for our institution. In addition to being the right thing to do, it is a catalyst for innovation in fulfilling our mission, and it is essential for achieving UT Southwestern’s full potential as a leading academic medical center.”
To help advance diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement, UT Southwestern offers Business Resource Groups (BRGs) – also known as Employee Resource Groups or Affinity Groups – through the Office of Institutional Equity & Access. These groups provide a source of support for fellow colleagues, foster career development, and promote cultural sensitivity in the workplace.
Employees are invited to join any of UTSW’s five BRGs: the African-American Employee, Asian-Pacific Islander (currently in development), Hispanic-Latino, LGBT & Allies, and Veterans BRGs. Participation in BRGs is open to anyone. You need not identify with the affinity to join the group.
This story highlights the LGBT & Allies BRG as the campus prepares to host its first Pride Month celebration June 27. Center Times Plus got the chance to hear from the members of the BRG’s leadership team: Forrest Cain, Dr. Elizabeth Paulk, and Dr. David Weigle (see Leadership Team box, right).
See what they had to say about the organization’s mission and why joining is nothing short of a bonus:
How can the LGBT & Allies BRG support employees professionally and personally?
Leadership team: The LGBT & Allies BRG is a great resource for UT Southwestern employees. On a professional level, the BRG serves several functions. At the most basic level, it demonstrates that UT Southwestern is a workplace where LGBT employees are valued and supported, and that our contribution to the UTSW community is seen as a strength.
Regular meetings help members network within the institution, share successes, and bring forward areas in which UTSW can continue to become even more inclusive. The meetings are also a safe space where members can share concerns they might not have another venue to voice. The group also sponsors social functions to generate friendships that extend even beyond the borders of the workplace.
What do you hope employees will gain from joining the LGBT & Allies BRG?
Leadership team: First and foremost, we hope that employees will feel welcomed and know that they are valued members of the UT Southwestern family. We also hope that they will feel they are helping to make our community better for LGBT & Allies employees, and also for patients and families served by our Health System. Finally, we will all work together to help enhance relationships between UT Southwestern and the LGBT community.
How has joining the LGBT & Allies BRG helped you?
Dr. Paulk: Being a part of the LGBT & Allies BRG has connected me with a whole new group of friends! Now when I walk around the campus, I have friends from many different departments that I never would have met otherwise. It is also really energizing to think that there is a platform for making positive changes.
With the first on-campus Pride Month event coming, how do you think the event will impact the culture at UT Southwestern and possibly how UTSW approaches patient care?
Leadership team: By having a Pride Month event on campus, UT Southwestern is making the statement that LGBT & Allies employees and patients are valuable and integral members of our community.