Leading by Example
At Atrium Medical Center (Atrium), our commitment to diversity is a reflection of what we do every day and that starts with leadership. Employees look to our hospital leadership to model the values of the organization. Promoting a positive and inclusive work environment aligned with the hospital’s goals is a key objective for our leadership team. Each year, the hospital’s leadership is provided with a comprehensive list of initiatives to support the diversity strategy.
While there is a position dedicated solely to diversity, we believe firmly that it’s every manager’s responsibility as well.
Meet Premier Health's Diversity Director
“Premier has a positive, action-oriented attitude toward promoting diversity. My goals are to foster a more inclusive, effective and dynamic work environment by expanding on the foundation already in place.”
PHP Diversity Director
Lisa Smith joined Premier Health (Premier), the parent company of MVH, in 2002 as a Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) Analyst, and during her tenure was promoted to HRIS Manager. In the HRIS arena she was responsible for identifying and implementing strategic solutions in the compensation, benefits, recruitment, and payroll areas. Lisa also supported Premier’s diversity initiatives. She collaborated with the Office of Diversity in understanding the key business drivers, and developed a system solution to meet regulatory reporting requirements in support of the overall organizational diversity initiatives. In addition, she was a member of the Diversity Council and developed content to facilitate diversity dialogue. Her promotion to Diversity Director in November 2007 reflects Lisa’s key contributions to the organization and its commitment to diversity.
Lisa is a graduate of Miami University. She has more than 20 years of management experience, and has received numerous awards for outstanding performance throughout her career.
Creating Opportunities for Employee Engagement
At the core of the hospital’s mission of “Earn, Choose, and Grow” is our commitment to diversity. A positive work environment is fostered by a climate that values, respects, and embraces diversity. Today, more than ever before, employees have choice—and rightfully so. In the same way we do not compromise the quality of care we provide our patients, we earn the loyalty of our staff by valuing their individuality and treating everyone with dignity and respect—our employees, patients, visitors, volunteers, and medical staff.
Through our Diversity Council, employees are immersed in the organization’s commitment to diversity. Employees’ input and perspective is considered as we develop our strategic diversity plan. We recognize that it’s our employees who are in the best position to assist us in identifying opportunities for improvement.
The Diversity Council promotes a positive environment in many ways:
“Our past experience and relationships influence our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and frequently lead us to stereotype individuals. While there may be culture-specific differences, the Diversity Council is valuable in that it opens our eyes to the absurdity of stereotyping. Each individual is just that—an individual—deserving of thoughtfulness and respect. The council arms us with an understanding of cultural differences and individuality, making interactions with patients, families, and co-workers more respectful with both or all parties involved having a clear understanding of the intended communication.”
Rhonda Koenig, RN, MSN
“Quarterly quizzes discussed and given in the Diversity Council meetings were excellent tools to have open dialogue in the department meetings about cultural diversity. These quizzes encouraged staff members to participate in discussion and made them more understanding toward diverse patients. It also promoted sensitivity and acceptance toward diverse coworkers.”
Shobha Patel, BS, CNMT, CHTP
Manager, CardioPulmonary Services
Focus on Diversity: The Original Ingredients in the Melting Pot By Priscilla Lane, Director, Volunteer Services
To look at me, you’d probably think I’m 100% white-bread American, and you’d be partly right. My father’s ancestry is just about 100% English, with names like Triplett, Proffitt, and Martin. He was raised in Iowa farm country and born in a town so small that he knew everyone by name by the time he was three years old.
What my looks don’t tell you is that I’m Cajun and Lebanese on my mother’s side. How did an Iowa farm boy and a Cajun girl from South Louisiana meet in the late 1940s? My dad worked for an oil exploration company and his job took him all over Texas and then to Louisiana, where he met my mother at a Saturday night Fais-do-do. “Fais-do-do” is French baby talk meaning “go night-night,” but the term was applied to the local Saturday night dances where the whole family from Grand-mère and Grand-père to the youngest bébés joined in. When the babies got tired, they would lay them down in a corner to sleep while the rest of the family enjoyed the festivities.
But I’m not writing this to teach you about Cajun culture. I write it because none of my great-grandparents spoke English, and because of my personal history, I’m asking you to have patience with new immigrants who speak little or no English.
Here’s a little of my family’s story. My Cajun great-grandparents were born and raised in the United States and their ancestors came to Louisiana before the United States existed. They came in the 1700s because the English burned them out of their homes in the Acadian region of eastern Canada. At the time, Louisiana was a huge region of North America that was controlled by France, and French remained the legal language of the State of Louisiana until after the Civil War.
My Lebanese great-grandparents came here late in the 19th century with their children to escape the domination of Lebanon by Syria. Because French was the language of commerce in Lebanon, the men spoke both Arabic and French, so they chose to settle in French-speaking South Louisiana. But the women spoke only Arabic so, like many immigrants, they lived in an area with others from “the old country” and the women, particularly, tended to stay in that familiar enclave.
Their children—my grandparents—grew up speaking both the parents’ language and English. My mother, the third generation, only speaks English. Even though she grew up with grandmothers who spoke only a few words of English, she never learned much (except a few “bad” words) in either French or Arabic.
And if you look at your own ancestors, unless they all came from English-speaking countries, their experience was undoubtedly quite similar. The first generation arrived in this country and settled in a neighborhood where everyone spoke their native language. Their children learned the native language at home, and often learned their first words of English when they went to school. The generation after that probably only spoke English, and maybe a few choice words in their grandparents’ language.
The same is true for our most recent immigrants, whether they are from Mexico and Central America, or Somalia (apparently there’s a large group of Somalis in the Columbus area), or Central Europe, or Vietnam, or Turkey or China. They know that English is the language that ties the people of the United States together. They know that they need to learn English in order to get ahead. They see to it that their children go to school and learn English, even though they also want their children to know the language of their ancestors.
As an English major, I learned that the ideal time to learn language is between birth and about 5 years of age. We all know from experience that little children don’t study language. No one teaches them the rules of grammar. It’s almost like they absorb the language that they hear around them. But after the age of 6 or 7, that ability to just absorb language goes away and it becomes much more difficult to learn a new language.
As a result, it’s sometimes impossible for adults to learn a new language. My own mother, who grew up in a French-speaking region, has never been able to learn French. She’s tried learning from PBS broadcasts, classroom study, and audiotapes, but she doesn’t seem to have the knack for it. My Iowa-born father knows more French than she does.
So when you encounter a new American who is struggling to communicate in an unfamiliar language, in an unfamiliar culture, think back to your immigrant ancestors, or the ancestors of a friend or even of mine. And please have patience with these folks who have come here, like most of our ancestors, to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Our diversity is what has made our country strong and unique like the delicious gumbo my grandmother used to make—the gumbo I still make that takes me back to my Cajun roots. I wonder what these new immigrants will add to American culture to make it even richer and stronger than it is today.
Premier’s Commitment to Diversity
Premier, the parent organization of Atrium Medical Center, is strongly committed to building a healthier community through diversity. Creating and maintaining a welcoming, inclusive environment for employees, patients, visitors, and suppliers is at the core of PHP’s values.
Read more about Premier’s commitment to diversity here. To open this file you’ll need Adobe® Acrobat Reader®, which you can download for free.