Our journey to national recognition in diversity and inclusion

by Cheryl Flynn
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Methodist Health System

Cheryl Flynn

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

—Verna Myers

When I joined Methodist Health System five years ago, my first directive was to build a detailed 10-year action plan for a diversity and inclusion program. That was a tall order. The above quote helped us to visualize our goal.

With the support of many at Methodist, the plan we created was a top-to-bottom business strategy. It included components such as increasing awareness of the importance of intentional inclusion and diversity, education, and training and forming an Intentional Inclusion and Diversity (II&D) Leadership Council at the corporate level to provide a forum for discussing issues and gaining support for our diversity and inclusion program objectives. After presenting the plan to the Methodist Board of Directors, it received unanimous approval.

Honored to be ranked No. 2 on DiversityInc’s list

Since then, Methodist’s II&D work culminated in a prestigious honor — being ranked No. 2 on DiversityInc’s 2018 Top 11 Hospitals and Health Systems for Diversity list. We were unbelievably honored to be recognized for the years of hard work by many who had helped to lay the foundation for our diversity and inclusion program. 

The DiversityInc list has been published since 2001 and recognizes companies that show commitment to diversity in areas such as hiring, retaining, and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, and veterans. DiversityInc’s extensive annual survey yields an empirically driven ranking based on recruitment, talent development, senior leadership commitment, and supplier diversity. This year’s competition was improved by new survey questions and more sophisticated analysis from DiversityInc’s data scientists.

Serving our diverse communities

Diversity wasn’t a new concept to our organization. After all, Methodist Dallas Medical Center was founded in 1927 to serve diverse communities south of the Trinity River. Our action plan provided the framework for Methodist to embrace diversity with an entirely different approach — externally for our patients and the community and internally for our leadership, employees, physicians, and volunteers.

The (II&D) council took its job seriously from day one. Members worked to lay the foundation for a comprehensive, successful program by:

  • Identifying opportunities within the organization to make a difference
  • Creating cross-functional collaboratives on hospital campuses that represent those employee populations
  • Training our human resources partners on the purpose of these collaborative teams and how they could make a difference in recruiting
  • Training our leaders and preparing them to address concerns that may come up
  • Focusing on education, training, and skill building.

With curriculum created in conjunction with pastoral care, Methodist University offered all employees access to diversity and inclusion education, including what to expect, cultural sensitivities, and what could be considered offensive. We set a goal to be recognized on DiversityInc’s list of top hospitals and health systems to provide a benchmark so that we could compare our efforts to those of other hospitals in the region and nationally. We never dreamed we’d accomplish this goal the first year we applied.

Propelling inclusion and diversity to the next level

We’re in the process of taking DiversityInc’s comments and revitalizing our action plan with new items while continuing to focus on maintaining our successful program.

Simply put, Methodist believes that this diversity and inclusion program is the right thing to do. It will help us to better serve our patients and their families, as well as our employees, volunteers, and community. To us, there are three aspects of working in healthcare that make valuing the full range of inclusion and diversity critical. They include:

  • Being inclusive so we can excel in clinical quality
  • Being culturally competent so we can engage our employees and patients in ways that create a positive experience
  • Empowering staff members at all levels to do their best work and to enjoy their employment experience with Methodist.

If you’re searching for an organization that will allow your career to flourish because it values intentional inclusion and diversity, visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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