Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our Framework to Enhance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By: Larry Milan

As a critical community resource, Connecticut Children’s must ensure that our team members, patients and their families, and community partners all feel welcome and respected here. To strengthen our culture, we have worked to develop a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework that will guide our efforts along this journey going forward.

Events that occurred over the past year sparked our call to action. Those include the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affects people of color and made the inequities in the U.S. healthcare system more apparent, and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which highlighted the ongoing racial and social injustices in our country.

More recently, the tumultuous events that unfolded in our nation’s capital during the same month we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and welcome a new President and Vice President reinforce the need for this important work.

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework ensures team members will help us understand where we are and where we need to be. Our overarching goal is for Connecticut Children’s to be a place where we all feel respected, a sense of belonging, and empowered to be the best we can be in service to our mission and each other. We are proud to have presented this Framework to colleagues at a recent Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) annual leadership meeting. The Framework is centered on:

  • Our Workforce: Building a diverse workforce that leverages the unique talents and abilities of each individual
  • Our Workplace: Fostering an inclusive work culture where everyone is valued for who they are and for their contributions to the organization
  • Our Marketplace: Ensuring patients, their families, and our community partners all feel respected

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework has eight pillars that map out our work. Our progress so far includes the examples detailed in the following four pillars:  

  • Culture audit and assessment: We understand the importance of co-creating our future direction. This approach includes interviews, focus groups and a survey to incorporate the voices of team members as we shape our path forward.
  • Strategic staffing: This effort will help to ensure a more diverse workforce through the adoption of new processes to attract more diverse candidates and achieve a greater balance across our workforce representation over time.
  • Education and awareness: This involves building knowledge and skills among team members regarding diversity, equity and inclusion through training sessions, Pediatric Grand Rounds lectures, and other learning programs. It also involves raising awareness internally and externally about our progress.
  • Community action: This ensures our diversity, equity and inclusion work has a broader impact on our community. We are committed to partnering with external organizations to address health equity and all factors that influence child health outcomes.

Our overarching goal is for Connecticut Children’s to be a place where we all feel respected, a sense of belonging, and empowered to be the best we can be in service to our mission and each other.

The Framework also calls for improvements through four other pillars: governance and leadership; compliance and issue resolution; retention and engagement; and analytics and metrics.

Work in all of our pillars continues to evolve as we progress on this journey.

Connecticut Children’s is committed to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in all we do. This Framework provides a path to strengthen our culture to ensure a respectful, welcoming and inclusive experience for all we work with, partner with, and care for.

Larry Milan is Connecticut Children’s senior vice president for human resources and chief diversity officer.

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