While serving as a critical-care nurse, I decided to pursue an administrative career and applied for a fellowship position with Premier Health in a program designed for healthcare professionals with master’s degrees.
More than 30 years later and still working at Premier, I see this opportunity as shaping my career and my life. My first impression upon arrival in Dayton, Ohio, holds true today—there was no sign of a glass ceiling at this organization. Instead, there were men and women guiding my career through exposure to a unique set of experiences and thoughtful and caring mentoring.
I am proud to say that the fellowship program continues to cultivate executive talent today, with participants from very diverse backgrounds. The best part is that we have retained many graduates of the program who now serve as vice presidents and directors and are valued leaders in our organization. I tell this story because it sets the stage for so much more.
Premier Health values diversity and inclusion at the highest levels of the organization and it is an intrinsic part of our culture. We are committed to culturally competent care, workforce diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity. This is not only the right thing to do, it makes sound business sense. It does not just happen overnight.
An effective diversity strategy takes focus, deliberate work, and a sustained commitment throughout the health system. As a mission-driven organization, our cultural approach to diversity includes being a leader and role model in the community in setting expectations and achieving impressive results.
We have grown tremendously from our experiences and have a genuine appreciation of diversity, which I see demonstrated every day. For example, our employees rate our initiatives around diversity and inclusion as one of their highest satisfiers in the workplace, demonstrating how this has permeated our entire organization.
Leadership exemplifies this commitment with an executive team made up of 60% women, several from diverse backgrounds. This does not occur without the focus of an entire team—working as one—to best represent, reflect and support the communities we serve.
Premier Health has had a formalized approach to diversity for more than 20 years through our board of trustees diversity committee, having its beginnings at Miami Valley Hospital in 1996. Since that time, Premier has implemented a harassment-free and diversity-inclusive workforce policy; a minority hiring policy; a robust minority nursing scholarship program. We are considered a best practice in supplier diversity. This body of work resulted in the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce naming its annual recognition the Premier Health Workplace Diversity Award.
In the sourcing area, we offer workshops on supplier-diversity community outreach to encourage minority participation. We set measurable goals around overall project spending to ensure minority, veteran and women-owned business participation. This work has garnered recognition by outside agencies and organizations such as Vizient, the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, the OH-KY Construction Summit and the South Central Ohio Healthcare Supplier Diversity Symposium.
Our board of trustees, led by our first woman chair, Anita Moore, provides oversight of our diversity and inclusion programs that include hiring policies and practices. This is formalized through our community health improvement committee and its diversity and inclusion subcommittee. The subcommittee provides input, monitors outcomes and partners together to achieve our annual goals.
There are additional committees made up of employees at each of Premier’s hospital campuses and we invest a lot of time educating our staff about inherent bias and diversity and inclusion. We consider it our responsibility and we are honored to celebrate diversity as one of the greatest assets our company has to offer.
We encourage all of you to fully participate and lead the way toward a more inclusive workplace. We believe this is now a part of Premier’s DNA, but there are always opportunities to evolve and it makes us stronger and better able to provide the best possible healthcare for our communities.