Texas Health received the American College of Healthcare Executives of North Texas’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award for “embodying and promoting values focusing on diversity and inclusion in the healthcare management field” through its R.I.S.E. (Readying Inspiring leaders with Skills to promote Equity) DEI leadership program.
The Texas Health R.I.S.E. Leadership program is a key component of the system's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. It is a collaboration between Texas Health’s Government and Community Affairs and People and Culture departments. Offered annually in the fall, the program is designed to support Texas Health's diverse, inclusive workforce and develop a leadership pipeline that reflects the demographic composition of the communities the system serves.
“We are beyond thrilled about the program’s success,” said Felicia Williams, program director, Community Affairs. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with People and Culture to bring this program to life.”
Marcus Mitias, program director, Government Affairs and Advocacy, added, “It takes support from everyone across the organization.”
“We want to equip individuals to be inspiring leaders who will further Texas Health’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” said Jeanette Oliveros, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and People and Culture Transformation. “R.I.S.E. participants and graduates are strengthening our organization and our communities as they apply what they’ve learned, spearhead new DEI projects, and champion inclusion at all levels of our organization.”
It began with the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
A year after the former Houston resident was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, Chaplain Kasey McCollum and others at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital discussed the anniversary and the issues it brought up. They began with a small group, discussing their personal experiences.
“We started sharing our own awareness of race, of how race impacted our lives, knowing that each of us come from different backgrounds,” McCollum said. “Our experiences were pretty different and we built greater trust.”
The group decided others at the hospital would benefit from similar discussions, so they formed a planning committee and held a one-time meeting for anyone who wanted to join.
“Interest was so high that we maxed out the room,” McCollum said. “People came in on their day off just to attend.”
The group began having regular Dialogues on Race, attended by an average of 40 to 60 people.
“It allowed people to practice how they’d react in different situations,” said Mary Meza, D.P.T., M.S., rehabilitation services director. “And then we could discuss it. ‘What did you see here? What do you say when somebody does this?’ We’d talk about how to be an upstander versus a bystander.”
According to the Holocaust Museum Houston, an upstander is someone who takes action to help others when they witness injustice. In contrast, a bystander sees the injustice but doesn’t participate or help those being targeted.
“I think these discussions have really been eye-opening for many of us,” said Blake Kretz, hospital president. “Many people aren’t aware of some of these things happening all around us.”