Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Healing is Coming - February 2021 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

Issue link: http://magazine.outpatientsurgery.net/i/1335688

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Page 12 of 67

In many institutions, DEI officers are viewed as running tagalong pro- grams and asked to chime in inter- mittently about the organization's efforts, which aren't woven into the fabric of the day-to-day. DEI repre- sentatives should be present in every department throughout a health system to prioritize equality programs and make them an integral part of daily activities. Efforts need to be championed and furthered by a group of frontline workers who are determined to make positive change happen, and who have DEI goals listed among their regular responsibilities. A network of dedicated individuals, regardless of their titles and leadership status, helps drive entire staffs toward a more equitable workplace culture. • Initiate education. Make annual or bi-annual DEI training mandatory for all staff members and physicians to raise awareness of anti-racism pro- grams, and to emphasize the importance of con- fronting and disrupting long-accepted norms that promote structural racism. Many people aren't equipped with the nomencla- ture needed to express exactly how they feel when discussing sensitive topics related to race, and are afraid to make mistakes. Progress demands open communication and connectedness, so create forums — regular meetings or town halls — where staff can gather in safe spaces to have open dia- logues with open minds. I moderate conversations with surgical residents of all races and begin each session by declaring "take-backs" are allowed. It's important to respect each other's opinions if the thoughts expressed are well-intentioned or made to help others learn about the issues involved. Mutual respect makes for more produc- tive conversations. Consider programming that focuses on a specific topic, such as studies or articles about implicit bias, ways to promote a culture of anti-racism or how to be an upstander. These are powerful tools that yield quality discussions. • Reevaluate policies. Many practices engrained in our society and workplaces favor staff members and patients from the majority at the expense of those in the minority. Practices that promote dis- parity, regardless of their level of intention, must be recognized and addressed. Healthcare leaders who develop and implement concrete plans to diversify their staffs increase access to care for all patients, and promote a more equitable and healthy society. • Quantify progress. True change can't happen without measurable results and accountability. Create clear metrics of success in your DEI efforts, and make sure they're assessed on a con- sistent basis. Conduct 360-degree evaluations of your facility's DEI efforts on an annual basis. Ask patients, frontline staff, members of the medical team and departmental leaders about progress being made and areas of needed improvement. Surveys are effective tools for this purpose. For example, you can ask patients about how welcom- ing the staff members were who greeted them as soon as they entered the facility. I tell frontline staff that patients see them before they see me, and that they have as much of an impact on their overall experience as I do. A top priority Healthcare systems have responded with purpose during the pandemic to shift resources and imple- ment new policies in order to continue providing safe patient care. That same urgency needs to be applied to making health care more equitable. The movement might be difficult to start in some institu- tions, especially because of the financial and practi- cal challenges caused by COVID-19, but moving health care toward a more equitable future cannot wait. The time for action is now. OSM Dr. Butler (paris.butler@pennmedicine.upenn.edu) is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon within the University of Pennsylvania Health System and director of Underrepresented in Medicine (UIM) Affairs in the Graduate Medical Education Office at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 1 3 Mutual respect makes for more productive conversations.

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