There are more than 75 million children in the United States—nearly one quarter of our population. Today’s kids are, at their core, kids—with hopes, fears, aspirations and questions. Today’s kids are also more diverse than ever in race, ethnicity, gender, religion and socioeconomic status. As children’s hospitals, we value every one of them for who they are and are committed to their development, care and well-being.
In January, Paul King, chair of CHA’s Board of Trustees, described the two sides of leadership’s priority coin requiring our focus in 2022—our patients and people. To truly focus on these priorities, we must look at our organizations through the lenses of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Understanding health disparities and how our systems and processes contribute to them is the first step in achieving health care equity among the patients we serve. We must also collaborate with other sectors to realize greater health equity for all children in our communities.
Building a diverse and inclusive workforce reflective of our communities and patients is also a shared priority. This changes the ways children’s hospitals recruit, train, identify and promote underrepresented groups within our organizations and how we create a greater sense of belonging. We have engaged, talked and listened over the past two years.
Actions, not words, will be important in 2022. At CHA, we are committed to supporting progress across our community of children’s hospitals. DEI priorities will be reflected in efforts related to:
- Federal advocacy. Include equity in awareness and policy initiatives in children’s mental health; ensure the viability of children’s hospitals and their missions; and increase funding for a diverse pediatric workforce.
- Collaborative learning. Convene the children’s hospital community via affinity groups and conferences featuring thought leadership from inside and outside the industry.
- Children’s health care and health outcomes. Identify and mitigate variations in care; pursue demonstration projects in multi-sector collaboration; and refocus our core data and quality work to ensure disparities are identifiable, measurable and addressed.
- The CHA organization. Embed DEI in our values and behaviors and leverage internal and external expertise to assess and recommend changes.
To support these efforts and others, we will seek guidance from a DEI Advisory Group composed of leaders from across our member hospitals. We move forward recognizing it is a journey, and we are committed to the road ahead.