Our commitment to diversity and inclusion inspires best practices for respect and inclusion

At Penn State Health, inclusion equals excellence. Therefore, our commitment to excellence is driven by developing a respectful work and patient care environment. This commitment has led to national recognitions by Forbes; Military Times; Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense office; and the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index.

Our goal is to weave inclusion principles into our daily operations – creating an expectation of mutual respect and understanding.

In 2020, for the first time, the Penn State Health board of directors approved the establishment of a diversity organizational goal. The focus was on five areas: 

  • Create and implement an introductory program on the definitions and impact of unconscious bias and microaggressions* and the need for employees to become upstanders – individuals who intervene when there have been incidents of unconscious bias and microaggressions.
  • Increase the awareness of our diverse employee resource groups and their events that increase cultural awareness.
  • Develop and implement an interview tool – often referred to as the “Rooney Rule” – to increase the diversity of interview candidates and, ultimately, increase the diversity of our new hires.
  • Increase the awareness of our newly established policies that include zero tolerance for willful discrimination by employees and enhance mutual respect by prohibiting discrimination by patients and their families against employees.
  • Revise the Compliance Hotline for individuals to report incidents of bias and microaggressions. 

* An unconscious bias is a social stereotype of certain groups of people that someone has developed over time but is not consciously aware of. Microaggressions are verbal, behavioral or environmental insults, intentional and unintentional, that communicate a negative message to a group or individual. Microaggressions stem from unconscious biases.

All five areas were successfully accomplished in 2021, including 92% of Penn State Health employees completing the unconscious bias/microaggression educational program.
In 2021, the Penn State Health board again approved diversity as one of the four organizational goals for 2021/2022, with five new areas of focus: 

  • All patient-facing employees complete a culturally responsive care educational session to support our mission and vision.
  • Develop a supplier diversity program.
  • Increase diversity of physicians and leaders.
  • Increase the number of bilingual and medically certified interpreter employees in the workforce.
  • Establish a dashboard for all of the organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.