A message from Seattle Children’s Executive Leadership Team

On December 9, 2021, Seattle Children’s released the first quarterly progress report on our Health Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan. The quarterly report is part of Seattle Children’s commitment to accountability as we systematically dismantle racism within the organization. There are eight recommendations in the action plan, each with action working towards a desired outcome.

The report shares progress to date and builds on past anti-racism and equity, diversity and inclusion work at Seattle Children’s. It wouldn’t be possible without the advocates and people who rightly continue to ask the organization and leaders to reflect and work toward becoming a more just and inclusive place to work and receive care.

We will publicly and consistently communicate our progress, with the next report scheduled for release in March 2022.

Seattle Children’s knows that our commitments and words must be matched with urgent action in order for racially equitable and meaningful change to happen. Despite our urgency, this is a process that takes time, and we know we will not achieve every outcome in just a few months. However, we do see progress. You’ll find a progress summary on pages 5–6 of the report, but here are some highlights:

  • Work is underway to co-create a new behavioral response system to replace the Code Purple policy with something that is more racially equitable.
  • Boosting recruitment efforts and increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the workforce.
  • Internal and external listening sessions to provide workforce members, patient families and community members an opportunity to give feedback on the action plan.
  • Investing in this work and living our values through our budget allocations:
    • Approved $25 million to support what’s in the action plan.
    • Approved $37.5 million in operational funds and a $125 million endowment for Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic for long-term financial support based to fund the greatest needs as identified by OBCC leadership.

While it’s important to show where we’ve improved, we don’t only want to pat ourselves on the back. We also need to acknowledge the challenges and barriers that we face, some of which include:

  • Our workforce members are at very different points in their journeys to address racism, equity, diversity and inclusion. This requires a range of different tools and supports to meet people where they are.
  • Limited language support affects not only our patients and families but also workforce members who use a language other than English. From electronic health record systems to workforce surveys, we need to better address this barrier, but systemic changes are often slow.

Supporting the report, a number of elements can help communicate where we are, as an institution, on our anti-racism journey:

  • A dashboard tracking progress towards desired outcomes is available to the internal workforce. A snapshot of the dashboard is on page 7 of the report.
  • A summary of the internal listening sessions that took place between October 23 and November 5.
  • An interactive graphic describing the Health Equity and Diversity Inclusion work. This group is key because it is the organizing force to help realize the Anti-Racism Action Plan. An important accountability mechanism, the Health Equity and Diversity Inclusion Council relies on an anti-racist structure and model to ensure power and authority are shared when making decisions.

The work ahead requires intentional collaboration and unequivocal commitment and action from all of us. We invite the Seattle Children’s provider community to read this update and keep us accountable as we aim to eliminate disparities we know exist at Seattle Children’s and transform our culture.