At Memorial Health System, we have always believed that high-quality healthcare should be accessible to everyone. We have come to acknowledge that this goal cannot be achieved without addressing deeply rooted systemic racism in our culture, in our communities and in the field of healthcare itself.
The events that occurred in the summer of 2020, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, have made it clear that inequality and injustice are not things of the past. Across our country, millions of people have joined together in grief and anger to call for an end to the deadly legacy of racism and discrimination. At the same time, statistics show that people and communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid spread of the virus is shining a harsh light on the stark health disparities and barriers to healthcare that are all too common in our nation, state and local communities..
Memorial Health System condemns racism and all other forms of discrimination. These are more than social or political issues—these are issues that directly and negatively affect the health of people in central Illinois and around the world. Research shows that social determinants of health—including the multifaceted legacies of racism—have a disproportionate impact on the overall well-being of individuals. As healthcare professionals, we have a responsibility to take our mission beyond our walls and address the inequities in housing, employment, safety, transportation, access to food and education that continue to affect the health of people of color in the towns and cities we serve. To do this, we must strengthen our partnerships with organizations within our communities that are already engaged in this important work.
As we work to improve the health of our communities, we must also examine ourselves. Hospitals and clinics like ours must be places where everyone feels welcome and safe. We must establish a culture where everyone’s voice can be heard, regardless of race, religion, country of origin, economic level, gender identity, sexual orientation, age or any other factor. Empathy is the first step in shaping that culture, but it alone is not enough to create lasting change. To that end, we pledge to make Memorial a more equitable, diverse and inclusive environment.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Pledge
- We will use our resources to work toward greater equity within our organization and community.
- We will promote a culture of respect, acceptance and understanding.
- We will examine and challenge the conscious and unconscious biases that create barriers to healthcare—not only outward displays of prejudice, but also the unacknowledged biases that can subconsciously affect our perceptions of people different from ourselves.
- We will create spaces where colleagues feel safe discussing concerns about equity, diversity and inclusion.
- We will listen to and elevate the voices of individuals from underrepresented communities in discussion and decision-making.
- We will expand our Community Benefit programs that increase access to care for people and communities of color, in collaboration with other organizations that share our mission and values.
- We will actively recruit, hire and promote diverse candidates so that our colleagues more accurately reflect the communities we serve.
- We will not tolerate and strongly reject expressions of discrimination or hate speech from anyone who enters our facilities, including patients, visitors and colleagues.