Meet the Cancer Center Team: John Ruiz, PhD

Jan. 10, 2024

New associate director of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility strives for inclusive excellence

Person wearing a black suit and blue tie with mustache crosses arms and poses for photo

It is an honor to lead the new office of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, & Accessibility (IDEA) within the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC). This office is evidence of UACC’s commitment to the principles of inclusive excellence and the belief that strength is gained through our diversity. IDEA was established to promote the values of inclusive excellence within UACC and to pursue the goal of a representative workforce that reflects the communities the UACC seeks to serve.  

Over the next year, IDEA will pursue two critical goals:

  • To work toward improving the overall diversity of the UACC workforce.

  • To optimize the climate within which we work.

Per the Cancer Center Support Grant mandate, the first aim includes the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women and underrepresented persons across the workforce spectrum (members to staff to trainees) and strategic partnering with those with vested interests to meet the needs of our communities. The goals of IDEA are in lockstep with the UACC’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan: Bear Down on Cancer, which aims to reduce health disparities among underserved communities within the Cancer Center’s catchment area. 

In addition, IDEA will conduct climate surveys and focus groups to understand how the UACC workforce experience UACC and identify ways that we can improve the experience. This includes but is not limited to improving the physical spaces, ensuring accommodations for all, and increasing the salience of unique voices. Considering that at least 50% of total waking hours during any given workday are spent at work, optimizing that environment is an incredibly important part of life. Your active participation in these efforts will help to optimize our environment to better suit the needs of all.  

Finally, Tucson is among the most culturally diverse regions of the country with its incredible populations, customs, languages, and foods. These factors contribute to Tucson being a hotspot (no pun intended) destination for so many. IDEA aims to infuse some of this richness into our work environment. This space in the newsletter will soon include reminders of key dates of observance, local events, and a variety of what we hope are helpful ways to celebrate that cultural richness all around us. We welcome your ideas for how we can make life at UACC just a bit more enjoyable.   

As we enter the new year, we take this opportunity to remember that valuing diversity is a core tenet of what it means to be a Wildcat. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, comments, or suggestions at