Health Professional News

Equity and inclusion at Children’s Minnesota: Our call-to-action

“I feel a little nervous when I talk about equity and inclusion because this is some of the most important work we can do for our patients and families, so we need to get it right,” said James Burroughs, chief equity and inclusion officer at Children’s Minnesota during his opening remarks at Grand Rounds on Feb. 6.

James covered several topics throughout his presentation including his background and what brought him to Children’s Minnesota; shifting demographics in Minnesota since 1990; the equity strategic plan and how Children’s Minnesota will measure success.

As Minnesota faces some of the largest racial disparities in the country, leaders are focusing on overhauling the equity and inclusion landscape at Children’s Minnesota.

While James, the equity and inclusion team and leaders continue the important work of addressing these disparities within the walls of Children’s Minnesota, you’ll likely hear the terms ‘health equity’ and ‘racial equity,’ if you haven’t already.

Here are some definitions that are informing the foundational work for the equity and inclusion team:

Health equity

  • Everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier.
  • Requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination and their consequences.
  • Requires removing barriers to health such as powerlessness, lack of access to quality employment, education, housing, safe environments and healthcare.

Source: Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, 2017, Reproduceable with Attribution

Racial equity

  • Race no longer determines one’s outcome (e.g., health, wealth, careers, education, infrastructure and civic participation).
  • Everyone has what they need to thrive, no matter where they live.
  • Those most impacted by structural racial inequity are meaningfully involved ( e.g., owners, planners and decision makers) in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives.
  • We acknowledge and account for past and current inequities.

Source: Center for Social Inclusion

Equity and cultural change

It’s never too soon to address equity as an individual, in both your personal life and in your work, whether how you work internally with your coworkers, or how you work with patient and families. Challenge yourself to think critically in these areas as Children’s Minnesota works to create an equitable culture:

  • Be present.
  • Create a welcoming environment.
  • Be uncomfortable.
  • Build new relationships.
  • Address structural racism and its impact at Children’s Minnesota.
  • Learn new things (for example: bias, structural racism cultural humility.
  • Be intentional.

Get involved

Children’s Minnesota has several Employee Resource Groups that work to promote equity and inclusion within Children’s Minnesota:

  • Asian Employee Resource Group
  • Black Employee Empowerment Network (B.E.E.N.) Employee Resource Group
  • Muslim Employee Resource Group
  • Nurses of Color Employee Resource Group
  • People Respecting Individual Differences Equally (PRIDE) Employee Resource Group
  • Hispanic/Latino Employee Resource Group

If you missed James’ presentation, the recording will be available online here.

Stephanie Hoff