Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Isn't That What Healthcare Is All About?
In a crisis, it's healthcare providers' responsibility to take the best care of those who are in the most danger.
Yesterday was Memorial Day, reminding us of those who have given the most (and those they left behind, whose care is now our responsibility). Today is the beginning of Pride Month, reminding us of those from whom the most has been taken. We're still in the midst of a pandemic that disproportionately affects the elderly, the immunocompromised, racial minorities, and the poor.
Many of these populations overlap with each other, and they all have one major overlap: they're people.
And though our business serves American hospitals, their patients aren't necessarily all American. And near the top of the lessons we've learned in the last year is the importance of international coordination and cooperation. The COVID-19 variants ravaging India right now, for example, aren't staying in India. People are going to keep crossing borders. Goods need to keep crossing borders for our healthcare system to keep functioning. Just taking care of "us" isn't a solution.
Because "us" is - again - everybody.
As for addressing underserved communities within your region and without (another thing that 2020 made clear is obsolescence of the idea that someone living far away means we can't directly serve them), take a look first at how well your local hospitals' patients are representative of your local population. And determine what practices you can put in place to make your specific staff more diverse.
If promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at your organization - and for the communities you serve - is important to you, you can literally get the conversation started. Participate in a guided, collaborative talk with people at your company or in other organizations so you can learn what's worked for them. Try one of these digital roundtables taking place every week.
Just like everyone recovering from 2020 nearly halfway through 2021 (a terrifying thought), we're doing our best. Keep checking back here and in your inbox every week for what advice we can offer, and let us know what you thought we've done well and what you think we could do better.