More Than Just Words: Equity, Employee Resource Groups and Hispanic Heritage Month at Aledade
Doing what's good for patients, doctors and society is a business model that enables us to make an important, meaningful impact on the health and wellbeing of society while also meeting business goals. Diversity, equity and inclusion is good for society, so I knew Aledade was a place where DEI was more than just words.
Hey, everyone! My name’s Josh Swann, and I’m the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion here at Aledade. I joined the team earlier this year, and it’s been a wonderful experience so far.
Aledade Nation is a team made up of incredibly smart, dedicated and passionate people working to make a positive impact in the world of health care. And because the nature of our work is people-centric, DEI work is set up to thrive. One example is how we recently celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month. But before we dive into that, let me provide some context.
At Aledade, we acknowledge that we are all the same person in and out of work, so we want to foster a space where folks can both come together around a shared identity, experience or social cause and also engage in a variety of experiences that will positively impact not only their professional lives, but their personal lives, too. That’s why we have Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are communities of Aledaders led by Aledaders, and each group helps to drive our inclusion goals by focusing on four strategic pillars - education, community building, networking and branding - while also providing input on company strategies and initiatives. While ERGs are centered around the identity or cause of the particular group, members do not need to share the identity of the group; allyship is encouraged!
Our Latinx ERG just led the charge in our company’s commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Our ERG Leads Maria McVicker-Roberts and Lillian Yim coordinated a recurring newsletter that shared activities Aledaders could engage in and also highlighted the personal stories of Latinx Aledaders - culture, fun facts and why allyship from non-Latinx people is important (i.e., it isn’t a self-given badge of honor - it is a role that someone outside of a community plays when said community acknowledges them as an ally).
In the slate of events that the ERG hosted, there was a clear health-equity component. The ERG Leads invited Melanie Forti and Vashti Kelly from Children in the Fields to talk to us about health care in the migrant farmworker community, many of whom are of Latinx background. This event was incredibly impactful as it reminds us that a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion goes beyond our work as colleagues, but it is critical to population health and the world around us.
I can’t overstate this: Heritage months matter. Because communities, particularly those often underestimated, must be seen and celebrated for taking up space. Additionally, as a company, we are better equipped to successfully deliver best-in-class services to our doctors, patients and society if we truly know the stories, experiences, triumphs and struggles of all communities. And we’re committed to taking advantage of every opportunity we get.
Now, let me pass the mic to a few of my colleagues from the Latinx ERG who can share with you their own stories and experiences. You can start with Lillian's story here.