Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants
Nurse in goggles and a surgical mask reading to a sleeping baby patient

Rewarding Innovation

The Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants, formerly known as the DEI Mini Grants, began in 2017.

About the Grants

The Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants, formerly known as the DEI Mini Grants, began in 2017, as a part of the inaugural year of DEI 1.0 five-year strategic plan. The mini grant program was created as an engagement opportunity to provide an opportunity to acknowledge, inform, reinvigorate, and refocus departmental and unit efforts that promote respect for and learning about others. 

Catalyst for Change
Phyllis M. Blackman

The DEI Mini Grants were renamed to the Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants to honor the contributions of former Office for Health Equity and Inclusion Director, and Anti-Racism Oversight Committee co-chair, Phyllis M. Blackman, who retired in 2021. Phyllis was a catalyst for change and an advocate for diversity at Michigan Medicine and in our community.

The DEI grant allows us to develop resources to put the right information in the hands of patients and providers to improve communication, and therefore improve access to life-changing healthcare. Protocols in place to mitigate COVID-19 have tremendously impacted non-English speaking patients.

James Cech
American Sign Language/English Interpreter, U-M Health Interpreter Services
Previous Award Winners

Spring 2017 Obstetrics and Gynecology recipients for Transgender Patient Care Training Videos

Fall 2017 Gifts of Art recipients for Diverse Art Kits for Patients

Spring 2018 student recipient for a peer mentorship program supporting mental health

Fall 2019 UMH Interpreter Services recipients for short videos for Just-In-Time training for inpatient medical teams and patients with limited English proficiency (LEP)

More Information
Faculty, staff, house officers, and learners with innovative programs or initiatives related to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Michigan Medicine are all encouraged to submit an application to receive mini grant funding up to $5000.
Grant Criteria
Grant submissions should align with the strategic priorities of Michigan Medicine to enhance inclusion, increase diversity, and promote equity across the institution for our patients, faculty, house officers, staff, and learners. Applications are reviewed and awarded based on three main criteria – innovation, DEI and sustainability. Award recipients are recognized by the impact in three categories: people, process, and product.
Apply Now

The Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grant application link is open until midnight of September 21, 2022, and award notifications will be sent via confidential email in October 2022. Click to apply now.

Contact Us
Please review the Frequently Asked Questions below. For additional questions, contact us.
Phyllis M. Blackman Mini Grants FAQ

All Michigan Medicine faculty, house officers, staff and learners.

Innovative ideas that promote the vision for diversity, equity and inclusion. House Officers and students interested in disparities research are also encouraged to apply. Funds may be used to support recruitment of diverse research subjects and advance knowledge in culturally appropriate research design. Collaboration within units that make up larger departments (e.g., Internal Medicine, Surgery) is encouraged.

Innovative ideas are those that benefit the academic medical center, use creative, artistic or best practices to promote awareness and inspire learning about the diverse faculty, staff, patients and learners in our community.

Any amount up to a maximum of $5,000 per proposal.

Departments may submit more than one proposal. For example, Pediatric Surgery and Plastic Surgery may both submit applications because they are different sections/units under the Department of Surgery. However, neither section can have more than one active Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grant at one time.

No. Funds cannot be used to cover salaries and benefits of any Michigan Medicine employee (or non-Michigan Medicine employee). Funds cannot be used to support effort for Michigan Medicine employees.