Trina Parks takes a holistic approach to her job as the corporate chief diversity and inclusion officer for RWJBarnabas Health.
We asked Trina why diversity, inclusion and equity are business necessities.
Your business needs must influence the formation of your strategy. For a long time, hospitals treated and released — we didn’t necessarily think about affecting changes in unemployment, unsafe housing, food insecurities, predisposed genetics and modifying behaviors. We once operated under the guideline that equal access for all was the key; however, we now realize that health equity requires us to assess everyone’s individual social determinants of health, because we all do not start at the same place and have the same needs.
Beyond the moral case, which is often debated by many, it is not coincidental that health care organizations with a diverse team — particularly at its highest level — that nurture an environment of inclusion often equate to increased employee satisfaction. I remain a firm believer in the idea that the latter will have a positive impact on patient satisfaction, thus better outcomes.
Communication in any organization is imperative and must begin with a dialogue assessing where we are, where we want to go and how we may get there. It is evident that we cannot take the humanness out of people. We must ensure a foundational understanding and sensitivity as it relates to the culture at all levels of an organization addressing our biases that may be conscious or unconscious in order to be successful.