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A Message to Our Community: Advancing Our Culture of Equity

18 Aug 2020, Posted by Seasons in Community

A message from Annemarie Switchulis, RN, BSN, MSN, President and COO of Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care. 

As an organization, Seasons has had a longstanding commitment to advancing an internal culture of equity as well as in the communities we have the honor of serving. We strongly reaffirmed this commitment earlier this summer in response to the unrest and protests spurred by Mr. Floyd’s death. We wanted to take a moment to update our community partners on the internal work we have been undertaking since our affirmation. It has been a busy and productive time, though there is always more work to do. 

First, in order to ensure we hear from a wide and diverse set of voices within our organization, we convened a new Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action (I.D.E.A.) Committee. The I.D.E.A. Committee is a subset of our Employee Council- a group of our valued frontline staff who provide guidance to our senior leadership about work and company culture here at Seasons. The I.D.E.A. Committee will focus on supporting the cultural needs of our employees. They will provide feedback and suggestions, and serve as a workgroup for how to create an equitable and diverse environment at all levels of our organization. 

Secondly, In 2018, Seasons chartered our Cultural Inclusion Council. To better support our robust internal clinical education training and orientation, as well as our community education programming, our Cultural Inclusion Council will now focus on identifying relevant topics for future instructional development for employees, as well as education opportunities for underserved communities and our facility partners with the goal of increasing access to hospice care. 

Additionally, Seasons believes in giving our staff the resources they need in ways that are easy for them to utilize. Under the guidance of our National Director of Communications and Multicultural Affairs and our national faculty, we have created a robust internal library of on demand educational offerings for all employees that focus on key topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This library consists of both external resources as well as Seasons Hospice proprietary content developed by our own subject matter experts with a focus on the role that diversity, equity and inclusion must play in high-quality end of life care. Our staff have access to such relevant topics such as active listening, respectfully unearthing identity, and inclusion and sensitivity. This content will also be released via video vignettes on a monthly basis to all employees with the goal of advancing our understanding as we support each other and our diverse patient populations. 

Lastly, Seasons is proud of our strategic focus- we take a long view and aim to be able to serve our communities for the next five, ten, and fifty years. We honor and recognize that a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program won’t be built in a month, or even a year. Because we are dedicated to promoting this culture for decades to come, we’re working to continue laying a solid foundation today. We are finalizing plans to engage a diversity and inclusion consulting firm that supports leaders and organizations through the process of developing transformative, sustainable solutions for equity and inclusion.  

I’m proud of what’s been accomplished so far, but also know there is more work to be done. As a mission-driven organization, Seasons knows that creating an organization that can provide the best possible hospice care starts with a respectful understanding of the backgrounds and traditions of those we serve. And we cannot continue that process without fully supporting our staff and providing them an equitable environment where all can thrive and bring their best and fullest selves to the critical work we commit to each day. 

With humility and respect, 

Annemarie Switchulis RN, BSN, MSN 
President and Chief Operating Officer 
Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care