Diversity and Inclusion, Please Dance with Me by Dominique Juif-Roberson

diversity and inclusion in healthcare


Can you picture yourself in high school, hearing about the cool parties being organized but never being invited to them because you weren’t in the same social circle? Then, one day, you get invited. You’re excited, but once you arrive, no one invites you to dance. Not only do you feel bad, but you weren’t even able to show off your perfect dance moves to make the party better. 

If you believe in Diversity and Inclusion, not only do you need to invite me to the party, but you also need to ask me to dance.

As Medical Staff Professionals, from hospital settings to health insurance companies, we have a duty to serve our patients – all of them.

A few years ago, I attended a GAMSS Education Meeting organized by the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Health Center. There, they presented their program and efforts to provide comprehensive and inclusive care for transgender and gender non-conforming students. Their intent to meet patient needs was impressive, even down to the finer details. For example, the forms in the healthcare clinic were changed so that patients could share the name they wanted used when called out in the waiting room.

As a leader, I need my team members to bring different talents to the table, including talents I don’t have and ones that will make the overall team better.

If we can build on all our strengths coming from everyone’s personal experiences and knowledge, we will be successful. After all, if my team is diverse, then we will also be sensitive to the differences in our patient population.

However, diversity is not just Black and White, it’s also Intersectionality. It is the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender. In plain terms, the experience of a white woman, high school educated, and born in New York City, is different than that of a white woman, college educated, born in Wichita, Kansas.

To me, the UGA program is an excellent example of recognizing diversity in its student population and striving to include all patients in their policies. As a Medical Staff Services professional, I was proud that my colleagues at UGA were involved in making a difference, because, above all else, we aim at serving the patients.

But how can I play my part?

When NAMSS reached out and asked members to apply and serve on their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, I didn’t hesitate to apply. It was time for me to do more.

I started by attending training sessions organized by my workplace centered around diversity. That was the initial starting point of the many beneficial conversations around diversity that continue today. Organized by our HR department, we usually have a video to watch and questions to discuss.

When I last hired an employee two months ago, I went outside of my comfort zone to reach out to a wider audience. I spoke to two career centers for sexually abused women, victims of domestic violence, and to my daughter’s transgender friends. Each time, I explained what credentialing was, with the simple goal to find the skills I was looking for in order to make my team better. 

I invite my readers to take steps to learn more about Diversity and Inclusion and promote it. Please be on the look out for the upcoming podcast, or each out to NAMSS for assistance on creating your own Diversity and Inclusion committee within your organization.