In a time that many are seeking a mode to turn outrage into action, a vehicle to transform emotion to progress, HCA Healthcare’s chief diversity officer, Sherri Neal reaffirms our organization’s values. Read below as Neal shares HCA Healthcare’s active responsibility to a diverse and inclusive culture…
“Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.”
If you consider all of the events that have unfolded in 2020, it is easy to see that our mission is a true call to action, needed to combat everything from a global pandemic, growing health disparities and persistent and systemic racism that has challenged our nation.
But the past several weeks have been particularly challenging for me personally and professionally. I have felt heartbroken, frustrated, fearful and every emotion in between. I share the sentiments of our colleagues who are devastated and traumatized by the senseless killing of George Floyd and too many others, and stand united in the public outcry to put an end to systemic racism, injustice and inequality in our country. It is clear to me that we have much work to do. Yet, in the midst of all of this, I am hopeful and more resolute than ever regarding HCA Healthcare’s commitment to strengthen our diversity and foster a culture of inclusion.
In fact, since January 1, 2020, HCA Healthcare has intentionally renewed and expanded its focus on diversity and inclusion by advancing our commitment to patients, colleagues, suppliers, boards and the communities we serve.
In addition to ongoing initiatives in each of these key areas, I’d like to share more on what we’re doing to act on our commitment to provide colleagues with supports, resources and initiatives, which include the following:
- Chief executive officer Sam Hazen and I are co-sponsoring a council comprised of colleagues from across the country to better understand how HCA Healthcare can best provide support to our Black colleagues and communities. Since announcing this opportunity over two weeks ago, over 700 colleagues have signed up, eager to strengthen our foundation of inclusion, compassion and respect.
- Through a special matching program, HCA Healthcare colleagues have the opportunity to donate to organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Black Lives Matter Foundation, the National Urban League and other nonprofits that support racial justice and address health equity for communities of color.
In addition to colleague contributions, we have received support from our HCA Healthcare Board of Directors including a pledge from Dr. Wayne Riley, president of the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University. Additional board members and senior leaders have followed Dr. Riley’s lead with pledged contributions.
The HCA Healthcare Foundation will match 100% of colleague gifts up to a total of $250,000.
- Our new Colleague Networks program will provide opportunities for HCA Healthcare colleagues to convene around shared commonalities or experiences. These networks will create space to discuss issues of importance and how the organization can better advocate for those issues.
- We are also expanding our award-winning BRAVE (Bold, Relevant, Authentic, Valuable, and Educational) Conversations program, which provides colleagues an opportunity to discuss complex topics and share fears, hopes and challenges through a safe, immersive and transforming dialogue experience.
- We have developed a conscious inclusion training experience, which will equip leaders to recognize and mitigate different types of unconscious biases and prepare them with practical day-to-day skills and resources to engage and support our colleagues.
We also acknowledge that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the Black community, bringing existing health disparities to the forefront. HCA Healthcare is at the helm of tackling the critical needs of our communities and we are advancing our commitment to eliminating health disparities.
The social injustices, systematic racism and inequalities our Black colleagues and communities face in this country are felt by all communities of color. However, awareness, attention and support is needed specifically around emerging issues, so that we can further the goal and strengthen the premise that all lives matter.
Now, more than ever, HCA Healthcare is dedicated to ensuring equitable access to high quality care for our patients, fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace for our colleagues, and cultivating and sustaining relationships with suppliers and community partners that broaden our reach and deepen our understanding in the communities we serve.
In peace and solidarity,
Chief Diversity Officer