HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM) prides itself on being an organization where Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) are at the forefront of everything we do. HCAM’s commitment to DEI is not only a key pillar of our core values, but also a critical part of HCAM’s mission to make Maryland healthier. As our team continues to support historically underserved and marginalized communities, we forge ahead with an understanding that operating with intention and action surrounding our DEI efforts will lead to better health and wellness outcomes for our staff and the public.
In November 2021, HCAM hired its first Director of Training, Equity and Inclusion, Joshua Morris, to help move its strategic initiative forward as well as its agency training needs. In addition to this internal structural change, HCAM has been working with an independent consulting agency, ADR Vantage, to clearly define the agency’s goals and objectives for DEI in the workplace and develop an action plan for advancing this strategy. While crafting the strategic plan, HCAM also adopted a DEI vision statement that reflects its internal and external work, values, cultures, and goals.
HCAM’s DEI Vision Statement: “To be regarded as a leader in equitable access to health care through policy and practices, and a workplace whose culture promotes diversity, values its team, and fosters inclusion.”
HCAM began implementation of our comprehensive DEI strategic plan in 2021. Here are a few progress highlights and key initiatives of this work:
DEI Committee – HCAM’s DEI Committee was founded in 2018 and consists of staff members from each department at HCAM. Our eleven-member committee meets on a monthly basis to discuss ways to incorporate DEI initiatives into HCAM. Recently, the DEI Committee has been active planning inclusive ice breakers for quarterly all-staff meetings, sharing educational information on monthly DEI awareness initiatives and holidays with staff and facilitating a DEI survey to gain information from staff members on their experiences in the workplace and ways HCAM can continue to make improvements. Jonathan L., a member of the DEI Committee shares, “Joining the DEI committee was a major event for me at HCAM because it afforded me the opportunity to forge excellent relationships and partnerships within the organization. I consider the DEI committee very valuable because the people are talented and dedicated. The DEI committee has made tremendous strides to keep HCAM ahead in the inclusive community by being a voice and an organization that informs, educates, and incorporates the best practices for DEI.”
Training – DEI training for staff members is a top priority at HCAM. In July 2020, ADR Vantage hosted DEI open forum dialogues with HCAM’s entire staff, to kick off HCAM’s strategic partnership with ADR Vantage. These forums provided staff space to discuss DEI issues in the wake of George Floyd’s death, including police brutality and other acts of violence and racism against communities of color. The forums consisted of facilitated breakout sessions where staff could share their thoughts and feelings about any DEI related topics and the environment at HCAM directly correlated to it. Since then, HCAM has had additional training for staff members including Mental Health First Aid, DEI Essentials, DEI Cultural Agility for Leaders, Gender & Sexuality, and Secondary Trauma Training for Complex Care and Social Needs staff.
DiversiTEAs – These unique staff events are virtual forums that promote discussion between colleagues while learning about different DEI topics. HCAM’s two most recent DiversiTEAs had about twenty staff members in each session. These sessions were led by outside partners and touched on topics important to an inclusive work environment.
- “Mental Health: Let’s Talk About It”, led by Sal Corbin from Behavioral Health System Baltimore, provided the space to talk about a highly stigmatized topic, and allow for staff members to share their experience and thoughts on the importance of having consistent conversation about mental health.
- “Just Jay: A Transgender Journey”, led by Mx. Jay Stilipec, provided HCAM team members an opportunity to have an open conversation with an advocate and member of the LGBTQIA+ and Baltimore City community. Jay shared a firsthand account of her experiences navigating life, careers, and her own identity.
Communications Workgroup – The Communications Workgroup was formed in April 2022 as a part of HCAM’s larger DEI strategic plan, more specifically related to the agency’s communication and reputation. The Communications Workgroup goal is to develop agency-wide communication guidelines that promote the ability to share diverse thoughts and perspectives in all meetings, forums, and avenues of communication. The Communications Workgroup meets on a quarterly basis and will monitor all levels of communication to ensure that they are within the guidelines and objectives established.
New Hire Mentor Program – In March 2022, HCAM launched its first New Hire Mentor Program (NHMP), a program that pairs new hires and staff who have been at HCAM for a year or more in a mentorship. This seven-week formalized program requires mentees and mentors to meet four times to go over a checklist of items that assist with the new hire’s onboarding process. A few of the goals of the NHMP are:
- Provide leadership/professional development opportunities for staff members
- Promote staff unity and teamwork
- Allow for cross departmental collaboration
As HCAM plans for the remainder of the year, incorporating DEI initiatives into workplace culture are top-of-mind matters that will help HCAM achieve the goals of its DEI strategic plan. Upcoming workshops for staff include a financial literacy workshop that will support equity and bridge the knowledge gap between those who are privileged to have generational wealth/knowledge about finances and those who did not have that advantage, and a DiversiTEA, “Walk Like Harriett”, which will explore Harriet Tubman’s journey along the Underground Railroad.
HCAM strives to create an inclusive workplace that prioritizes DEI and continuous learning for its staff members. If you’re interested in joining our team visit our careers page to learn more about HCAM’s employee benefits and view our current job openings.