Like so many organizations, WHA has been looking internally and asking important and long overdue questions in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor last spring and the national protests against police brutality and racial injustice that followed. Our work has included:
Examining all aspects of our organization through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Our staff and clinicians participated on seven DEI workgroups and together developed more than 50 ideas for how we can improve as an employer, a healthcare provider and community member.
Formalizing our DEI mission. Through the efforts of our workgroups, we have come together around a shared long-term mission for this work:
To create an inclusive culture that values the seen and unseen dimensions of diversity, enhancing our ability to develop and attract the best talent, provide unbiased, culturally appropriate care and positively impact the communities where we live and work.
Updating our corporate values. We recognize that to be meaningful and achieve our mission, DEI must be integrated into all aspects of our business. It must be part of the framework that guides our behavior and decision making. We have updated our values to reflect this fundamental truth, including adding the value of “Diversity” and changing other language to be more gender inclusive.
Setting near term goals. While things like our DEI mission and corporate values are relatively constant over time, the work we’ll do to live up to them will change as our organization evolves and matures. For 2021, our major initiatives include:
- Workforce training, starting with the basics of DEI and unconscious bias with The Herrington Group and working toward more patient-care-specific offerings with Diversity Science later this year.
- Developing and launching Employee Resource Groups
- Increasing the number and diversity of candidates we interview for open positions.
- Developing and launching a Patient Advisory Council.
We recognize this is just the beginning. We are committed making diversity, equity and inclusion an integrated part of all aspects of our organization. We invite our employees, patients and communities to hold us accountable to that—and we welcome feedback along the way.