Children’s hospitals are increasingly prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to better serve their patients, families and staff. The first step in doing so, according to one hospital leader, is to not make assumptions about the needs of your community.
“Ask those on your front lines, staff, patients and families instead of assuming what the needs might be,” says Samreen Vora, M.D., MHAM, FACEP, medical director of simulation at Children's Minnesota in Minneapolis. “Asking is the biggest thing.”
It’s not unlike the approach used in educational or quality improvement initiatives, according to Vora. And it’s the same process she and her team at Children's Minnesota used in distributing hospital-branded hijabs to its Muslim women staffers. “You need to do a deep-dive needs assessment so that you will be better prepared for whatever that need is,” Vora says. “The hijab project was a clear need that was identified only after we asked. And we were able to meet it.”
Vora adds that it’s also critical to diversify how you ask. “Some families may not be willing to fill out surveys or give us real information because they fear it might impact the care they’re receiving,” Vora says. “Whether it’s through rounds or other ways to connect, it’s really important to implement different ways of asking so you get real information.”
Read more about Children’s Minnesota’s efforts to provide medical-grade head coverings and customized garments to Muslim staff.