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Contact: Liz Estera
Phone: 315 464-4401

October 2008

Edgar Johnson

Edgar Johnson has been a member of SUNY Upstate Medical University since July, 2003. As a member of the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action, Edgar’s primary role is to focus on helping Upstate achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce through recruitment and programming. Examples include the establishment of the President’s Summer Internship/Mentoring Program targeting under-represented college and college bound students from the city of Syracuse. He is currently working with others to fully launch Project SEARCH, a high school transition program for students with disabilities (differently-abled) in collaboration with Syracuse City School District, ARC of Onondaga, and both New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), and Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID). Along with establishing these various programs, Edgar works with a variety of local agencies and conducts a wide range of recruitment strategies to identify and promote talent from different communities consistent with government requirements. Working with others, he plans events for Black History Month, International Month, Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, and Native American Month, which are celebrated on many U.S. college and university campuses. Edgar also helps deliver diversity awareness and sexual harassment training to new employees and existing staff. Earlier this year he co-delivered a cultural competence training designed by the New York State Department of Health to a nursing department. This training is now available to our staff, specifically health care providers and is focused on improving the provider and patient relationship from a cultural perspective.

When asked what he enjoys most about his position Edgar expressed “meeting and working with dynamic people, and being part of bringing about positive change from an organizational perspective, as well as in the community is what I like best about my job. There are many dynamic people here at Upstate and in Central New York that I have the honor of working with in facilitating positive change to move beyond those things that often keep us separated, which are mostly rooted in fear and misinformation. Diversity awareness can actually create and foster increased harmonious and productive relationships in the workplace and anywhere else. This is very important work.”

Outside of work, Edgar looks forward to taking more vacations, daycations, and short trips to explore the wonderful places and things New York State has to offer. This past summer he vacationed locally and was amazed with the beauty of the state from the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region to Alexandria Bay region.

When asked what he wants people to know about him, Edgar expressed “some of my mentors both past and present, friends and family members, and colleagues have described me as one with a universal and non-judgmental personality. During my youth, I formed social relationships with people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and cultures. As a human rights supporter, I continue to interact with people from all walks of life and I believe this is why I do what I do as a profession.”

Edgar, we want to thank you for your commitment and dedication to Upstate Medical University and for all your efforts in helping us achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce through recruitment and programming. Keep up the good work!