By Chris Van Gorder
As many of you know, Pride Month is a time to acknowledge and appreciate the LGBTQ+ community here at home and around the world. Recognized in June and often celebrated in July, these months mark a turning point in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States that began with the Stonewall Uprising in late June of 1969 and continue to this day. In fact, rights and privileges that many Americans takefor granted — including the right to marry — only came to the LGBTQ+ community in recent years.
Like all issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community often mirror the struggles and experiences of others discriminated against or victimized because of their religious faith, the color of their skin, their age, gender, background, looks or personal beliefs. These attitudes and actions of discrimination and bias continue to fuel a divided nation and tear apart communities at a time when it’s critical we come together.
Over the past years, Scripps has been recognized for its diversity and support of equity in the workplace and in the care we provide. I’m proud we have a culture of inclusion and belonging, but I know there is always more to do to ensure that culture grows and is reflected in our actions and the decisions we make every day.
Last year, I renewed this as a priority at Scripps and we are making progress. Through human resources, we are gathering feedback from more than 40 Scripps leaders as to the structure of a formal and transparent diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging model. And to get a better understanding of the issues at hand, an initial group of 20 employees from throughout Scripps is meeting biweekly with HR to share and discuss their stories, experiences and passions around these issues and how we can best create positive change.
While these issues are often complex and won’t be conquered overnight, our sights are on an inclusive approach that will support our workforce and communities now and in the future.
As we move forward, I am again reminded of the forethought of Ellen Browning Scripps and of Mother Mary Michael Cummings. While both could have elected to provide health care to specific groups within San Diego, their vision was to make quality health care available to all. More than a century later, those inclusive ideals are still a part of who we are and the care we provide and it is our charge to preserve, expand and strengthen those ideals for future generations.
This month we celebrate and recognize our patients, coworkers, friends, family and others who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. And in doing so, we also celebrate each other and the broad diversity that makes our community and workforce better. In this sense especially, we are truly stronger together.
Thank you for your support and participation as we continue to make Scripps a great place to work.
Chris Van Gorder is president and CEO of Scripps Health