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Service initiative amplifies importance of including and respecting all

Feb. 24, 2021, 10:49 AM


by Jill Clendening

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has an increasingly diverse workforce and embracing the differences of every employee is the theme of “Defining Personalized Care: We Commit to Be …,” the latest segment of a multiyear Culture of Service initiative underway at the Medical Center.

Five segments of the initiative have already been launched, and as of January 2021 nearly 16,000 members of the VUMC workforce have completed all of them.

The segment introduced this month shares the experiences of employees who exemplify this diversity and illustrates how celebrating our many differences can result in a more unified organization focused on providing the best service to colleagues, patients and their family members. It also provides guidance to help participants be more aware of their unconscious or implicit biases, acknowledge and address those biases and make including everyone’s voice equally a conscious, daily practice.

“Bringing together individuals of all ages, races, genders, cultural backgrounds, ethnicities and perspectives is a big part of what makes us strong,” said VUMC Senior Director of Learning and Development Claudia Fontaine. “The messages brought forward in this segment are vital to our ability to innovate and appreciate different perspectives. Being open minded helps us view differences as an opportunity to learn.”

The new segment spells out the value of celebrating differences and how being inclusive truly strengthens our ability to be innovative and broaden our own perspectives. It provides helpful guidance on how to best express curiosity about the differences of others and easy ways to intentionally seek out and include others’ points of view so that everyone feels valued and understood. It builds on previous modules and reinforces the message that the more cohesive our employees are, the better we can accomplish our goals and achieve our highest potential.

“When you watch what’s going on in our nation and our world today, it’s easy to feel like we’ve collectively lost the ability to sit down and listen to different points of view and respect perspectives that may be different than our own,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC. “This segment reminds us of how we can better open our minds, be more aware of our own preconceptions and be grateful to others for introducing new perspectives for the greater good. And at the Medical Center, that greater good is fostering a respectful, safe environment where we take care of each other, our patients and their families.”

Defining Personalized Care: We Commit to Be …” includes a video showcasing VUMC employees, best practices and tactics and real-life stories that are a hallmark of this popular series. The segment features three sections designed to provide structure and promote self-reflection.

  • We Commit to Be … Curious — Encourages everyone to seek first to learn in each situation and to acknowledge their own biases. It reinforces the idea that stretching outside their comfort zone results in professional and personal growth.
  • We Commit to Be … Inclusive — Shows learners how to intentionally seek out the perspectives of others. It also discusses the need to ensure each person’s voice is equally valued and heard.
  • We Commit to Be… Respectful — Focuses on the foundational elements of trust and connection. It discusses the importance of fostering a safe space for all to feel comfortable and how to respond with kindness when differences arise.

An email invitation from Pinson was sent on Feb. 17 to VUMC leaders and Feb. 24 to staff encouraging them to complete Defining Personalized Care: We Commit to Be … Employees are asked to take around 10 minutes to support the goal for all VUMC employees to complete the service education by May 31.

Click here to complete Defining Personalized Care: We Commit to Be … today (viewable on desktop and mobile devices).

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