Skip to main content

Wesley Burks, MD, CEO of UNC Health and Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, provides an update on the system’s work to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, highlights the recent DEI survey, the work of the System Executive DEI Council, and some immediate actions already underway. Read or watch the message.

Dear Colleagues,

UNC Health is committed to creating a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment within our organization, and to promoting health equity in our state. First, I want to thank those within our organization who have worked over the last few years to establish our foundation in these areas.

We cannot meet our mission to promote the health and well-being of all North Carolinians, unless we have a diverse team that reflects the state we serve. We must address, head on, anything that stands in the way of fulfilling our mission – and that includes issues around diversity, equity and inclusion.

We have a responsibility to act, and change starts within our organization and with me. One of the first steps that we took was to listen, to understand where we are, and to, frankly, hear some hard truths about how far we have to go. That started in the A Space for You Forums and with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey.

Results from the survey will be shared widely in the coming week and we will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to spend time reviewing and discussing the results.

Today, though, I want to highlight several themes we have heard in both the survey and the forums and how we are committing to immediate action in these areas.

There is a desire for space for more conversation – we have expanded the A Space for You Forums by adding sessions in Spanish, as well as a few in-person sessions. One of our FY-21 organizational goals requires managers and above to participate in Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership training. And, leaders will be expected to share information learned with their teams and direct reports. We are committed to and will increase the diversity in our leadership and have made significant changes to our recruitment and hiring processes.

Over the next several weeks, you’ll hear from members of our System Executive DEI council as they provide more detail on these changes and other immediate priorities. They have been working diligently over the past several months to ensure a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment within our organization and to promoting health equity in our state.

I am committed to ensuring UNC Health reflects the state we serve. Progress in this area is a key component of our organizational goals over the next year and beyond and is not optional if we want to truly meet our mission to the people of North Carolina.

Thank you for all you do each day and the opportunity to work with you.


Wesley Burks