Senior Public Safety Officer (SPSO) Armando Viscarri, a 32-year veteran with UT Police, is known as the designated storyteller of ‘All Things Barcelona’. He enjoys sharing pictures of his native Spain, pointing out the beautiful scenery and taking them on an oral history of his hometown through his mind’s eye.
It is important to Viscarri that others too feel comfortable sharing where they are from, so he encourages his colleagues to also share pictures and music of their homeland, and to talk openly about their cultures and families.
In recognition of his efforts, Viscarri received the Diversity Champion Service Leadership Award in October from the MD Anderson Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) office. Viscarri was nominated by his diversity champion peers for going above and beyond to promote diversity and inclusion at work.
“It means a lot and I am very proud to be the first in the department to receive this award and represent our department,” Viscarri said. “I am very thankful and appreciative to everyone who nominated me.”
In 2013, having just been selected as one of the recipients of the Distinguished Mentor Award from MD Anderson, Viscarri was approached by an instructor who encourage him to become a diversity champion and apply his knowledge, skills and influence to further his passion for diversity, equity and inclusion.
The opportunity quickly hooked Viscarri.
“I love to learn as much as I can about diversity and inclusion. I did not hesitate to submit my application,” he said.
Viscarri completed the 14-month program and joined the network of leaders throughout the institution who assist in advancing a culture of inclusion at MD Anderson.
Over the years, Viscarri has presented many times to his work team on DEI topics and of the beauty of his native Spain. He also was involved in a project to visualize the diversity of the UT Police team. The map, which hangs at the entrance inside of the UT Police building, was first developed for a diversity fair and helps to promote the police department as one that reflects the community it serves.
At the institutional level, he has helped to find a speaker each year for the MLK Celebration at MD Anderson and has served as the Ambassador to the speaker while they are on-campus, a role aligns to his duties as a SPSO. He also contributes to MD Anderson’s Diversity Fair by contacting and inviting different consuls in Houston to the event. These have included consuls from Argentina, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and Japan. While the consuls are on-campus, he again is the designated Ambassador who ensures all the needs of the consuls are met.
During Veterans Day, in conjunction with the Military Veterans Connection Employee Network, Viscarri volunteers his time to help register veteran employees to the network by stationing a table at various MD Anderson campus locations. He also helps prepare care packages that are sent to employees serving overseas.
Viscarri takes pride in being a mentor for the DEI Champions program every day. He is always ready and willing to help other employees with their training classes and DEI projects.
“I use what I have learned with new employees I train, and with the visitors and patients I come in contact with,” Viscarri said.
All employees in good standing (not on probation or undergoing disciplinary action) are able to apply and are required to attend an orientation session, complete a series of classes, and actively participate in one of the many projects or events planned throughout the year to promote diversity and inclusion. To date, there are over 500 DEI Champions within MD Anderson.