Davenport takes over as Chair of DEI Committee

Caroline Davenport has been named the new Chair of the Department of Psychiatry’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. She started her new role on January 29, 2024. 

The DEI Committee started in the fall of 2020 with a mission to ask questions, to listen, to reflect, and to engage team members and community partners to create a culture where everyone belongs and where we continually act in concrete ways to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, the impact of this committee should ripple across education, research, service, and clinical care. It should cross hierarchies and cultural barriers. And everyone should approach the work with a fundamental sense of humility.

Davenport, a medical receptionist, started on April 1, 2020, and on January 27, 2024, received the William H. Roccaforte Citizenship Award and the Reba Benschoter Leadership Award. Davenport is one of only four current employees to have earned both awards. 

Before joining the department, Davenport served in the U.S. Army. She said that as Chair of the DEI Committee, she would like to continue the great work the committee has done over the past three years as well as increase membership. She welcomes veterans like herself to join. 

As DEI Committee Chair, Davenport meets weekly with Dr. Sheritta Strong, UNMC Assistant Vice-Chancellor of Inclusion. Dr. Strong said she’s excited to work with Davenport.

Davenport replaces Laura Schutte-Lundy, LIMHP, CPC, LADC, as Chair. Schutte-Lundy has been a leader on the committee since December 2020. 

“As the Chair of the DEI Committee, my tenure was marked by a multitude of fulfilling experiences. One aspect I particularly cherished was organizing and participating in community events aimed at fostering inclusivity and understanding. These events not only provided valuable networking opportunities but also served as platforms for meaningful dialogue and exchange of ideas. Additionally, I found great satisfaction in our efforts to raise awareness about various social issues within the government. Through presentations and awareness campaigns, we tackled topics ranging from racial equity to gender diversity, aiming to cultivate a more inclusive and empathetic workplace culture,” Schutte-Lundy said. 

Schutte-Lundy added that the most rewarding aspect of her role was engaging in difficult conversations with individuals within the department. 

“While challenging, these discussions were essential for confronting biases, addressing systemic inequalities, and fostering genuine understanding and respect among colleagues. Overall, my time as Chair of the DEI committee was immensely fulfilling, as it allowed me to actively contribute to creating a more equitable and inclusive environment for all,” she said. 

Schutte-Lundy will remain with the committee.

For more information about the DEI Committee, contact Davenport at cdavenport@nebraskamed.com.

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