BIDMC was founded by individuals dedicated to serving persons of every creed, race and social condition. Today this covenant to provide the best medical care for all remains central to our work. Because of the growth in the diversity of our patient population and among our trainees, the imperative that our institution's workforce must reflect this diversity has only intensified. The benefits of a diverse health center workforce include improved patient-centered care and patient satisfaction, expanded cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, dedicated educational curricula and professionalism training that enhance best care goals, and enrichment of research initiatives to include health concerns related to underrepresented minorities, women, and the disparities in health outcomes that affect them.
Unfortunately, the current perception of our institutional climate around diversity is not in keeping with our history and our mission, and indeed has hampered our ability to attract greater numbers of underrepresented minorities to our training programs and to our faculty. There have been ongoing efforts to link BIDMC with multicultural programs at Harvard and its affiliates; nevertheless, the decentralization of these activities at BIDMC as well as the lack of financial resources to support efforts in this area have greatly limited progress.
With the strong support of the BIDMC Trustee Medical Education Committee, the Center for Education established the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and formally launched its operations on July 1, 2009 with Dr. Rafael Campo named as its Director. The OMA was created to reaffirm the institution's ongoing commitment to diversity. The charge of the OMA encompasses five specific areas relating to diversity at BIDMC: recruitment, retention, education, outreach, and outcomes. Thus the OMA works to advance diversity training and awareness in our medical community in alignment with BIDMC's core values.
The Diversity Executive Council, formed at the behest of Paul Levy, President and CEO of BIDMC, was subsequently convened to help define this overall vision for the newly-established OMA, as well as to develop and help implement its specific goals. The Council comprises hospital leadership and senior faculty members of diverse backgrounds. In December 2009, the Diversity Executive Council approved the following Credo for the Office of Multicultural Affairs:
CREDO OF THE OFFICE OF MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS AT BETH ISRAEL DEACONESS MEDICAL CENTER
The Office represents diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. It is the Office's belief that we all see ourselves as members of a broad spectrum of different identities, such as ethnicity, race, class, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, ability, religion, and nationality. We recognize that membership in some of these groups may result in the experience of discrimination and the denial of society's benefits. The Office invites all individuals to join in a discussion of their identity as members of different groups.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs will focus its efforts in five key areas:
We affirm that attracting a diverse workforce to BIDMC, creating an environment here where all feel supported and nurtured, increasing awareness of the impact of health disparities on minority communities enhancing cross-cultural sensitivity in the medical care we provide, connecting with other stakeholders in health care who share these concerns, and committing ourselves to measurable improvements in each of these areas is essential to the development and sustenance of extraordinary healers and the delivery of peerless patient care.