Inclusion and diversity among patients and staff are priorities at GBMC
“We have an integrated strategy to ensure our work aligns with our vision and mission, [which is] to give every patient, every time, the care we would want for our loved ones,” Walker says.
A 2021 exploration into GBMC’s practices showed a lot of work being done to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, Walker says. It also highlighted opportunities to strengthen the work already being done and some areas that could be improved. Key takeaways from the assessment included appointing Walker as the chief diversity and learning officer (the first at GBMC) and creating an integrated strategy to ensure the diversity and inclusion work at GBMC is progressing at a rate that keeps up with the needs of the community.
Walker explains a lot of the diversity work will relate to growing and developing the leaders within GBMC, along with training the workforce.
“I oversee both strategies so we can be very intentional with our work,” Walker says. “That includes leveraging the resources of the entire team to get that work done and making sure our workforce has basic education and competency.”
More specifically, Walker says, this includes making sure all GBMC leaders are trained on unconscious and implicit bias, gender-inclusive language, and gender identity, and ensuring GBMC supports the LGBTQ+ community and culture.
“It also includes improving recruitment practices and working on increasing the diversity of our leadership team,” Walker says. “We’re partnering with diverse, community-based organizations to ensure we can increase the pipeline of candidates.”
The staff at GBMC is an integral part of the overall inclusion and diversity strategy, Walker explains.
“We hold town hall meetings to keep staff informed and give them the opportunity to offer suggestions and ask questions. It’s a safe space that allows us to speak with smaller, intimate groups of teams and allows them to share their ideas.”
Over the next three years, GBMC will continue to implement its inclusivity strategy, with goals focused on providing culturally competent care to new and current patients as well as increasing the diversity of the leadership team from 25% in 2022 to 35% in 2023.
“We want to increase access to care for marginalized communities in Baltimore through community engagement and partnership as well as continue to work on health equity and bridging the disparities of care in the communities we serve,” Walker says.
Walker hopes both patients and potential employees of GBMC will notice the work being done.
“People should see our commitment to inclusivity in the care they receive, and candidates should see it in the touch points of their recruitment process. Everyone has a place in our organization.”