SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced the appointment of Michael Harris as the state agency’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer. In this role, Harris is responsible for driving the department’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy by introducing new policies and programs that foster empowerment in the workplace and provide supportive and equitable services to all Utahns.
“The creation of this position demonstrates accountability to a more equitable Utah, both for state employees and the individuals we serve,” said DHS Executive Director Tracy Gruber. “Michael brings fresh leadership and insight from lived experience to this role, and I look forward to his guidance on new policies and initiatives that will make our agency even stronger and drive positive change.”
Already a leader in fostering change at DHS, Harris chaired the Cultural Responsiveness workgroup to address systemic inequities among employees. He has held several previous positions within Human Services, including Quality and Contract Manager in the Office of Quality and Design and Program Administrator and Community Based Services Reviewer for the Division of Services for People with Disabilities. Prior to joining DHS, Harris spent 15 years as an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force and served multiple assignments abroad. He holds a Masters of Organizational Management.
“To cultivate equity in the services we provide, our practices must center around the unique identity of every person,” said Harris. “I will be working with staff and the public to develop meaningful actions that address under-representation of disparate populations at our decision-making tables and disproportionate overrepresentation in our services.”