Leadership | 09.22.23
As I began writing this article, I wanted to focus on advocating for the statement "better together." The need for this article grew as I read the disheartening news surrounding the recent mass shooting on Aug. 26, 2023, which resulted in the death of three African Americans. Our society has made tremendous progress in the fight for equality, but senseless killings based on the premise of race show there is a long road ahead of us in the fight against injustice.
So, why the initiative on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?
If we analyze the foundation of this framework, we can tie it back to the need to feel seen, heard, and included. The segregation of minority groups dates back to the 1800s, and many individuals in the present time feel unseen, unheard, and outcasted in several sectors of their lives, such as healthcare, the workforce, and education.
Having a “better together” mentality in the workplace, within organizations, or in your everyday walk of life helps to speak against inequality. I will not pretend to have all the answers, but it does start with being a voice. Even when your voice is shaky, and you are standing alone, speak proudly regarding your convictions to promote fairness. If you don't, then who will?
How can our industry be a continued voice?
Medical staff professionals (MSPs) have a responsibility to be the gatekeepers of patient safety. To advocate for patient safety, we must be aware of any harm to a patient (or set of individuals) that may not be reflected in a quality measure assessment.
For example, research has shown that unconscious bias leads to negative outcomes in healthcare. Vanderbilt University stated that unconscious bias (or implicit bias) is “prejudice or unsupported judgments in favor of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair.” To help combat unconscious bias thinking and decision-making, we must not only educate ourselves but implement tools that will track behaviors and empower individuals to speak out.
While one organization can make a change, it is more profound when similar organizations stand together in solidarity and pledge to be diverse, equal, and inclusive.
Learn more about NAMSS’ diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.
Ivonne Oladunni, MBA, CPMSM, is a member of the NAMSS DEI Task Force.