What inspired your career in health equity?
When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would respond “DoctorTeacherLawyer.” That was my way to solve healthcare inequities. Even when I was little, I knew that there was a need for change and advocacy, in making healthcare a safe space of healing for everyone. I wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to treat everyone with respect, educate medical professionals on valuing differences, and advocate for change in health policy that would prevent perpetuation of structural inequities. While I don't hold a medical practice license, I am now transforming care for vulnerable and minority populations at scale.
What kind of impact have you seen unconscious bias have on your career?
Where do I begin? Unconscious bias has presented itself in many forms, some obvious, such as race, age, and/or gender, and others not as obvious, such as familiarity bias (preference for what is known, comfortable, secure) and expectation bias (assumption that “an end” can only be accomplished by one specific means).
Once a recruiter initiated a conversation with “How long have you been in the mainland?” There were times in my career where I wanted to transition to other areas within healthcare, to infuse the health equity, diversity and inclusion lens into other aspects of the business, such as operations, and have found that association bias has limited my opportunity to do so. While I enjoy what I do very much, I also know there are many ways in which this work must be integrated into the fabric of the way we provide healthcare across the country.
What do you see as a successful, fully inclusive workplace?
Any organization that prioritizes inclusion as a core element of their strategic priorities will inherently see the rewards of a thriving workplace. When employees feel represented, heard, appreciated, valued and respected, they will have a sense of belonging; thereby leading to greater job satisfaction and higher productivity. If there is a missing puzzle piece, we have to work together, as a whole, to complete the puzzle. Research tells us of the positive financial impact an inclusive workplace provides, so now it’s time for each of us to work within our spheres of influence to be a part of the solution.