Updates from 2020 race relations town halls

Penn State Health held nine town halls in June 2020 based on the following themes:

  • Eradicating racism at Penn State Health 
  • Creating allies against racism
  • Providing quality care for racial/ethnic minority patients
  • Advancing an inclusive environment for all diverse populations at Penn State Health 

Approximately 3,000 employees throughout the health system participated.

Dr. Mr. Luther King Jr. is shown with his quote, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane".

Progress since Penn State Health June 2020 town halls

Steve Massini, Penn State Health CEO, promoted diversity as one of the health system’s organizational goals, which was approved by our board. Culturally responsive language has been added to our mission and vision, also approved by the board.

The following progress followed town hall recommendations:

  • The first Inclusion Challenge for the entire organization took place on Jan. 4, 2021. The program, modeled after Dr. Eddie Moore’s racial equity challenge, encourages employees to engage in cultural awareness on a daily basis. The Challenge will be repeated on an annual basis.
  • The Hershey Medical Center Patient Bias Policy provided the foundation for a systemwide policy of mutual respect that prohibits patients from showing bias or discrimination against providers and other health system staff.
  • Business employee resource groups (BERGs) were expanded to Penn State Health’s Berks, Lancaster and West Shore regions and began working with all BERGs to schedule monthly cultural events. 
  • The Rooney Rule protocol of requiring diversity in the interview pool was established as a systemwide policy for leadership and physician positions to increase the diversity of these positions.
  • Supplier and contractor inclusion policies are in place, with the capacity to track diverse suppliers/vendors and contractors.
  • Work is underway to implement a comprehensive systemwide interpreter program.