Moffitt Furthers Commitment to Enhance Diversity in Research

By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - January 16, 2024

Image of Dr. Brian Gonzalez
Dr. Brian Gonzalez, associate center director of the Office of Research Diversity & Workforce Development, is working to enhance the diversity of Moffitt’s research areas.

Diversity is part of Moffitt Cancer Center’s culture. For decades, the cancer center has strived to create and maintain an atmosphere of access, equity, and inclusion. It began in 2003 with the creation of Moffitt’s Enterprise Equity Department. In 2018, Moffitt created the Office of Community Outreach, Engagement & Equity to ensure the cancer center is addressing the cancer burden of our diverse community. In late 2023, Moffitt created the Office of Research Diversity & Workforce Development. Dr. Brian Gonzalez, the newly appointed associate center director, answers five questions about his new role and team.

Why did Moffitt create your new position?
Moffitt Cancer Center has long been a leader in diversity and health equity. The Office of Enterprise Equity was created decades ago, and Moffitt researchers are widely renowned for their focus on reducing cancer disparities. However, the focus for me and my team in the Office of Research Diversity & Workforce Development is to enhance the diversity of the research workforce. Our office works with other teams at Moffitt, but we have a complementary goal focused on expanding researcher diversity.

What are the goals you’re trying to achieve?
Our goal is to increase the participation of people from underrepresented backgrounds in cancer research. There’s strong evidence that more diverse teams do more impactful research. The Office of Research Diversity & Workforce Development is focused on expanding the diversity of Moffitt’s research workforce, including leadership, faculty, trainees and staff.

Can you share how Moffitt defines diversity?
When we talk about diversity at Moffitt, we’re not just focusing on race and ethnicity but also many other factors that help us reflect the diversity of our great nation. These include gender, disability, or growing up in a rural or disadvantaged background. Increasing the diversity of our researchers will accelerate our progress toward the cancer center’s mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.

What is your vision for enhancing diversity at Moffitt?
We want Moffitt Cancer Center to become the new national standard for increasing the diversity of its cancer research workforce. To do so, we’ll focus on developing new strategies for being more inclusive, rigorously test them to see if they’re impactful, and refine each approach as we get feedback.

Why is this initiative so important for cancer centers?
It all comes down to how we’ll be most effective in preventing and curing cancer. Teams that are more diverse do more impactful research. This is a strong motivation for what we do every day.

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Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC Senior PR Account Coordinator 813-456-3342 More Articles

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