Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?

M-HEAL feels that their best moment at advancing DEI was when we were doing our data analysis and DEI strategy for this year. Our board members spent over two months sifting through previous climate survey data, leadership & member feedback, recruitment data, and much more to write up a comprehensive DEI strategy plan for the next few years. Everything from our leadership elections, member engagement, community partners, programs, etc were evaluated in a DEI lens. Our findings are covered in the strategy as well as our solutions to correct the shortfalls. We felt that this was our best work because we know we put in so much time and effort to make this into something that will improve and heal for the future. And our efforts were recognized by the college of engineering who stated that this was the best DEI strategy they’ve ever seen from a student organization.

Wishes for the future: How would you imagine your environment needing to be for you to feel that you don’t have to do DEI work anymore?

We feel that we will always have to do DEI work because it is important to keep holding ourselves accountable otherwise we don’t want to find ourselves reverting back to old ways. However, we do feel that when we are able to support with hard evidence that all of our programs & procedures have produced a sustainable outcome in favor of the DEI mission, then we can consider our DEI strategy matured. From there, we can focus more on elevating member experience in other ways.

What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?

Receiving this award means that all the hard work M-HEAL puts into making our organization the best it can be has been recognized as valuable by you all. It motivates us to keep on improving our strategies, integrate DEI further, and provide an amazing experience for all M-HEAL members. Moreover, it would be a testament to the fact that M-HEAL is an organization that makes the University of Michigan community — and the world — a better place.