I added Sanitary conception almost 12 years ago, just weeks before attending my first Expo & Health Design Conference. I immediately learned that this is a passionate group, led by the mission and inspiring. I also noticed while walking the show that the participants were mostly white men. Over the years, I have seen more women enter the field and come forward to lead the health conception in significant efforts; however, I don’t even meet many people of color in my work and travel.
Imagine that my experience is no different from yours It’s a hard reality to accept, but one that the industry has to face: Often, individuals who transmit health projects are not representative of the complex communities they serve. Many organizations have been struggling with this issue for a while now, but the last year of social injustice and health disparities coming to light has inspired a new vigor to address it.
Here to Sanitary Conception, we decided to dedicate a portion of this issue to the subject of diversity, celebrating the people, projects, and programs that lead the way. In part, I asked a group of industry members to join me in a roundtable discussion on the topic. These are individuals who were on my personal radar in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for one reason or another. I knew I had the right group together, yet I was always impressed by what they shared.
The grassroots efforts in their companies to attract youth into the field, promote equity in employment and diversity in leadership positions, and apply everything to improve the delivery of health care and improve the well-being of our communities is impressive, to say the least.
I moved away from our inspired conversation but also with the distinct feeling that things are really changing. When they split up, health systems are already here — facing health disparities in the head, having awkward conversations about what’s causing them, and making sure they have the right people in place to help address them. That’s where the project teams come in. Concepts should be able not only to join those conversations, but to demonstrate that they also lead DEI in their own organizations. As Victoria Navarro of Aurora Health Attorney says, she will ask for details about a firm’s DEI program to ensure that the organizations with which it associates reflect the system and its communities.
As we move forward as an industry, I think about the role Sanitary Conception plays in this process. We make efforts to consider the projects we cover, the individuals we are interviewing, and the participants in our programming. But I know we can do more – part of that is just having the opportunity to meet and interact with different members of the industry. I encourage everyone to consider the same: Nominate your different staff members for our awards, identify them as sources of articles, and send them to our events.
We’re here to acknowledge everyone’s contributions, and I don’t care to see how the industry looks in another 12 years.