Doctor with patient playing with finger puppets The halls of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are rich in diversity, comprising people of all education levels, socioeconomic statuses, races, ethnicities, religions, cultures, languages, nationalities, ability levels, ages, sexes, sexual orientations and gender identities. CHOP has long been committed to creating an environment where all of those voices are heard and valued and where everyone — patients, families and employees — feels welcomed, accepted and treated equitably.

No one has been a stronger advocate for these efforts than President and CEO Madeline Bell, who believes that “by embracing and celebrating our differences, we can move the dial on important issues and create an environment where every person who walks through our doors will feel at home.”

Cultivating a kaleidoscope

CHOP Employees in CHOP Lobby Smiling A key component of the Hospital’s diversity and inclusion efforts is building a team that reflects the diverse communities we serve — across all levels of the organization. With the help of the Diversity Council, Bell created the Advancing Diverse Leaders Program (ADLP), designed to build a pipeline of diverse senior leaders within the institution.

Another initiative — the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity, developed by the Research Institute’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania — engages promising researchers from diverse backgrounds in cutting-edge pediatric research programs. Bell has also been a driving force behind the Hospital’s Employee Resource Groups and Physician Affinity Groups, which provide support and opportunities for personal and professional growth for employees from different races, generations, sexual orientations and abilities, and those who’ve served in the military.

These efforts, among others, have led to an increase in hiring of minorities to leadership roles by more than 20 percent for external candidates and 14 percent for internal candidates over the previous three years. Nearly 20 percent of ADLP participants have already been promoted, including one to an assistant vice president role.

Partnerships with local organizations provide additional employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals in the surrounding community and help grow tomorrow’s leaders. In the last five years, CHOP has hired more than 50 people through a partnership with the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.

Creating culturally competent care

A culturally diverse team is just one step. CHOP’s diversity initiatives also include courses and workshops on equality and diversity; engagement efforts with employees and the community; and diversity recruitment. For three years in a row, the Hospital has been recognized as an LGBT Healthcare Equality Leader by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, for its leading role in providing care for LGBTQ patients. Thousands of staff members have participated in trainings led by our Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic on how to better support our LGBTQ patients and families. And nearly 1,800 employees participated in voluntary diversity and cultural competency trainings led by our Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

Another series of sessions, led by our Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program, enables CHOP fellows to explore the roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals in enhancing service delivery for children and families from diverse backgrounds. And our Language Services program offers interpreter services in more than 75 languages, ensuring that families from all over the world feel welcomed and respected at CHOP and are able to receive medical information in their preferred language. This year, the Hospital processed 96,000 interpreter requests.

Access for all

Creating an inclusive environment for the children in our community also means ensuring they are all able to achieve good health regardless of their ethnicity, sexual identity, national origin, disability or socioeconomic status. Such is the mission of our Center for Perinatal and Pediatric Health Disparities Research, which studies the underlying causes of health disparities in our community, including those related to premature birth, behavioral health and access to mental health services.

Efforts extend to vendors and contractors

Children’s Hospital’s diversity and inclusion efforts extend to the suppliers and vendors we work with. We offer opportunities to small and disadvantaged businesses, women-, minority- and veteran-owned small businesses, and small companies located in historically underutilized business zones. CHOP selected Perryman Building and Construction Services, a minority-owned firm, to head up the building of the South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center.

In FY16, total purchase order spend on disadvantaged business enterprises was $151 million, and CHOP’s total spend with disadvantaged business enterprises grew from 23 percent in FY14 to 29 percent of our total purchase orders in FY16.

Next Steps