Importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare
Dr. Debra Andree, President & CEO, Community Health Centers, Inc.
While diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has always been an important initiative for all companies, I believe it is exceptionally important within our healthcare industry. Community Health Centers’ (CHC) mission to provide quality and compassionate primary healthcare to Central Florida’s diverse communities further reflects our commitment to DEI.
Since our founding in 1972, our culture has been focused on DEI – for our patients, our communities and our caregivers. Throughout our daily work, patients and their families put their trust in our hands. And, by doing so they deserve to always be treated with the utmost respect and compassion.
We firmly believe that our diversity is our strength. A key part of our Community Health Centers (CHC) mission is to care for at-risk neighborhoods and populations. This responsibility is a passion for our patient care providers and team members and it is something we take very seriously.
I also believe that the diversity of our caregivers allows for better care of our diverse patients. Since healthcare is ultimately built upon relationships, it is important that all our patients trust us to understand and meet their unique needs.
We also strive to continually look for new ways to identify health disparities within our communities and find ways to address these ongoing challenges. These health disparities may include birth outcomes, or our patients not filling their required prescriptions, or missing their necessary follow-up appointments due to a lack of transportation.
Through open, honest and two-way communication with our patients, we encourage them to be heard. Doing so creates an environment of safety, belonging and positive health outcomes. Many organizations view diversity initiatives as wise business practices. Here at CHC, we view these efforts as the right thing to do. Often, a certified interpreter service is utilized when there is a language barrier. This assists to improve communication and enhance understanding.
Our leadership teams have made our DEI work an ongoing focus for our health centers. We are fortunate to have dedicated and active board members that provide guidance in setting goals and standards for the upcoming year. We also work closely with our many community partners, who encourage us to each look at ourselves and make choices that inspire good health for all.
This ongoing work is not easy and we understand that it is often never ending. But, we remain committed to developing and cultivating a culture of compassion and acceptance. By doing so, we have the opportunity to continue to create a very unique and welcoming environment for all that we serve. CHC team members express joy knowing their roles are purpose filled, mission driven and their work matters. CHC patients express gratitude for the quality care they receive that leads to improved quality of life.