By Debra L. Lacy, Ed.D., MBA, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
It’s Celebrate Diversity Month 2023! How often, however, How should we celebrate diversity? Daily, with intention, and in every interaction possible. Celebrate one another; acknowledge one another; see one another; hear one another; and embrace the uniqueness we each bring to the table.
My Journey in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
I am honored to be TeamHealth’s new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Let me start by sharing how my definition of diversity began at a very young age. I grew up in a family of seven. My six siblings and I spanned multiple generations. How we saw the world differed based on gender, the fact that some of us were introverts while others were extroverts and even that some of us were left-handed in a primarily right-handed family (and world). I was a sister to my oldest brother, by 11 months, and more like a mother to my youngest brother, by 18 years. We did not see the world through the same lens, even though we grew up in the same household with the same parents. And this was the start of my journey and celebration of diversity.
Fast forward to today, and I celebrate diversity because I know firsthand the power of relationships that honor and respect diversity – in how we live, how we think, how we work, how we play and our experiences throughout our multi-faceted lives. I have lived and worked in different parts of the U.S. and Bangkok, Thailand, and have learned so much about myself and the people I was privileged to work and interact with. Most notably as humans, we are more alike than we are different, even though differences can create opportunities for discussion, education, innovation and collaboration.
Ways to Celebrate Diversity
There are many ways to celebrate diversity. Ask questions. Take a deep dive into your history and that of people from other cultures, different backgrounds, different roles, different parts of the world and different perspectives. These differences can stem from things like the generation they were born into and how they were socialized as they grew up.
Find out about and attend events that create, build or heighten your awareness about others. Some examples may be book signings or talks at your local library that build awareness of others’ viewpoints and others’ experiences that shape who they are culturally and philosophically. Attend an art exhibit that celebrates different cultures and history.
Take small – or big – steps that take you from discomfort to comfort when learning about others. I cannot promise that it will be comfortable, but I can all but guarantee that inaction is limiting and not nearly as much fun. Embrace discomfort, especially if it means embracing diversity.
Celebrating Diversity Month 2023
Let’s celebrate diversity this month and every month. Learn more about TeamHealth’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and commitments. For more stories from our clinicians, associates and the communities we serve, please subscribe to our blog.