Mark Brimhall-Vargas, Ph.D. joins Fenway Health as the first Executive Vice President of Racial Equity and Social Justice. Brimhall-Vargas brings 25 years of experience in change management, organizational development, and training and programming around systemic inequities, most recently at Brandeis University, where he was Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
He is a leading scholar and practitioner within the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As Brandeis University’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, he led efforts to build an equity infrastructure across all areas of Brandeis University. These efforts included establishing an Office of Equal Opportunity, Office of DEI Programs, Training, Education, and Development, an Ombuds Office, and fully establishing the Gender and Sexuality Center. He led efforts to create and engage with a DEI Standing Committee on the Brandeis Board of Trustees, a DEI Social Justice committee on the Brandeis Faculty Senate, and a Student Advisory Council of the DEI division. When he and his staff learned from students, faculty and staff of South Asian backgrounds that caste-based discriminatory behavior was occurring on campus, they engaged a process to add “caste” to the list of protected categories at Brandeis University — the first institution of higher education in the United States to do so. He secured ongoing university funding and commitment to provide legal services to Brandeis students with Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals, Temporary Protected Status, or those who are undocumented without other forms of work authorization.
Prior to working at Brandeis University, Brimhall-Vargas was Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Provost at Tufts University. He is a contributing editor to Occupying the Academy: Just How Important Is Diversity Work in Higher Education? He has consulted as a mediator in conflict resolution for the US Institute of Peace in Medellin, Colombia; Yangon, Myanmar; and Ramallah, West Bank. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Maryland where he worked from 1997 through 2015 in a variety of progressively more senior positions in the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.