Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) is dedicated to injecting the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) dogma into every area of its patient care, education, and research operations.
A visit to the website of Cincinnati Children’s displays the facility’s commitment to DEI as “fundamental to who we are” and features its “first DEI Annual Report.” A graphic on this page shows that CCHMC applies more than 90 DEI metrics across the entire organization, which are highlighted throughout the 28-page report.
CCHMC promises “a unified, unwavering focus on DEI” to strengthen its mission, as the report clearly demonstrates by illustrating the “DEI journey.” Once the organization “declared racism a public health crisis” in July 2020, a five-year DEI Strategic Plan (approved by the Board of Trustees) was created to “embed DEI in every aspect of our work.” Employees were provided with “diversity stickers” and focused training to ensure they understood what DEI means and how to confront their unconscious biases.
The “diversity infrastructure” was further reinforced by forming a Diversity Council, steering committees, and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), adopting the use of preferred pronouns, establishing a center for “child health equity,” and posting a “formalized DEI scorecard.”
The DEI scorecard is updated on a quarterly basis to discover where goals are and are not being met, such in CCHMC’s hiring practices. “When we learned that more people of color were bypassing four-year BSN degrees for two-year associate degrees so they could enter the workforce earlier,” the report said, we developed a program that allows them to join Cincinnati Children’s while earning their BSN.” The program pays for tuition at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and provides mentors – however, eligibility is based on skin color.
But the organization doesn’t limit its indoctrination efforts to the patient care space. This year, CCHMC has sustained the DEI doctrine through ongoing education efforts. Its InterProfessional Continuing Education (IPCE) program published the DEI Guide for Health Educators to direct them on how to “create content and learning environments that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.” The online guide, distributed in the January 2023 edition of the IPCE Central Newsletter, provides “general DEI principles” to apply in the development of continuing education offerings, including considerations and cautions for the educator to heed, such as:
- Avoid overuse of traditional images of medical professionals and patients. For example: physicians as white men, nurses as white women, patients as people of color.
- In hypothetical case scenarios, only highlight aspects of a person’s identity if it is relevant and meaningful. For example, mentioning a patient’s race in relation to systemic racism and inequitable access to mental health resources is appropriate. Mentioning a patient’s race in an attempt at showing diversity is “tokenism” and depending on the scenario can reinforce stereotypes.
- Focus on the person first, not their disability/diagnosis. Describe what the person has, not who the person is. Instead of “child is learning disabled,” say “child has a learning disability.”
- Use all demographics included in a research study and consider if any intersecting identities correlate to the results.
The guide offers additional direction in eleven “deep dive” categories that “are often associated with marginalization in healthcare and healthcare education.” The considerations and cautions in these sections address elements such as “intersectionality” and “bias awareness and microaggressions.”
For example, in the “Sex, Gender, & Sexual Orientation” section, educators are advised to:
- Use they/them pronouns when referring to individuals whose gender is unknown or hypothetical characters in case examples whose gender is not relevant to the discussion.
- Refer to individuals by their affirmed gender and pronouns – the gender and pronouns by which they wish to be known.
- Avoid unnecessarily gendering items. Instead of “feminine hygiene products,” say “menstrual products.”
- Recognize the importance of acknowledging both medically necessary sex information while still respecting gender identity. For example: a menstruating person.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital invests in the advancement of DEI concepts and gender ideology, and is proud to display its woke credentials to patients, staff, and the public. But the health of Ohio’s children is better served by devoting scarce resources to developing and training staff members in models of care that are based on science and the best available evidence.
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