The Charlotte Striebel Equity Award recognizes a University of Minnesota faculty or staff member who goes above and beyond daily responsibilities to promote access for the common good, to undo bias and discrimination, or to build capacity for diverse and equitable campus communities. This year, the Charlotte Striebel Equity Award committee announced Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) CEO Colleen McDonald Diouf as a recipient.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award, and I want to acknowledge our CUHCC team who works tirelessly to ensure our diverse patients and neighbors receive high-quality care. Our collective work and commitment to the mission inspires me to continue to lead CUHCC through the opportunities and challenges ahead and into a brighter future,” said Diouf.
Her nominators, Roli Dwivedi, MD, CUHCC’s chief clinical officer, and Suzanne Burke-Lehman, CUHCC's Board of Directors chair, said of Diouf, “Colleen has dedicated her life to the transformation of health care, bringing creativity and compassion to the front lines of health equity to help change the world.”
In swift response to sweeping national health care reform, Diouf led CUHCC through a monumental and innovative care model redesign. Under her guidance, the clinic achieved health care home certification, helped found one of the first virtual Accountable Care Organizations for Medicaid populations in the country, formalized CUHCC’s education and training program for nearly 200 health care professionals, and continued to transform clinical care practices to improve health outcomes.
In November 2019, Diouf led CUHCC through the transition to a more high functioning electronic medical records system which became even more essential when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Minnesota. CUHCC led the launch of mobile health services to improve testing and vaccination rates among populations of color, and created unprecedented access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations targeting underserved communities – with over 6,000 tests done since April 2020, and over 7,800 vaccinations given since February 2021.
Further, a perennial advocate for policies that benefit low-income, underserved communities, Diouf helped expand behavioral health care services, substance use disorder services, and social service integration at CUHCC. She has advocated for federally qualified health care centers as essential components of the statewide COVID-19 response, worked with the Department of Health Services and Medicaid to maintain telehealth waivers for health visits, and served as a key policy informer for maintaining low-cost drug pricing for low-income communities.
Dwivedi and Burke-Lehman added, “Colleen has gone above and beyond in showing what leadership looks like at the forefront of health equity.”