System News

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - Diversity & Inclusion update from Roper St. Francis Healthcare leadership

While Roper St. Francis Healthcare responds to what likely will be the greatest health emergency of our lifetimes, we must simultaneously remain focused on our critical work to defeat racism in all forms while bolstering our equality and inclusion efforts.

Since the senseless death of George Floyd on May 25 that spurred important dialogue across our country, Roper St. Francis Healthcare leaders and the healthcare system’s Diversity and Inclusion Council have met frequently and renewed our commitment to promoting a culture of inclusion, where differences are respected and barriers to equality and inclusion are removed.

Our mission at Roper St. Francis Healthcare calls us to heal “ALL people with compassion, faith and excellence,” and that means our obligation to the community goes far beyond denouncing racism. Our duty is to be anti-racist and lead difficult conversations that bring change.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s accomplishments in the past 10 weeks include:
- A commitment from our Board of Directors to make Diversity & Inclusion a more visible part of our strategic plan and ensure progress is a standing agenda item for board consideration.  
- A renewed effort to recruit our next Diversity & Inclusion leader – a vice president and chief diversity, inclusion & health equity officer who will report directly to the president and CEO.
- A successful Diversity & Inclusion Council retreat to reflect on racial justice and identify action steps for Roper St. Francis Healthcare to demonstrate its commitment along with an open call for new members to enhance the diverse voices of our team.
- A relaunch of our social media policy to clearly state that Roper St. Francis Healthcare will not tolerate any form of racism or commentary that is contrary to our mission, which resulted in several teammate separations.  
- A commitment to review key HR policies with a lens toward racial equity and a focus on developing diverse talent pools and pipelines.
- A review of Diversity & Inclusion training opportunities with a plan to have 100 percent of our leaders receive additional training in cultural competency and racial equity in 2020.
- A model for having crucial conversation around race in the workplace to listen to our teammates’ voices.
- A commitment to be advocates in the community for real change.  
- A partnership providing clinical guidance and funding for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s Concert for Equality to promote unity, love and understanding. 
- A campaign illustrating the tenets of what we hold dear – that we believe healthcare is a right, that black lives do matter, that love is love, that all genders are welcome, and that Diversity & Inclusion are essential to our mission of “healing ALL people with compassion, faith and excellence.”

So often in a crisis, leaders respond with great intentions and zeal only to eventually become distracted with the next problem. We can’t let that happen when it comes to race and equality.

Our belief that racism is evil and will never be tolerated deserves more than thoughts and prayers. We recognize this as an urgent matter of consistent and diligent discussion, devotion and action.

You have our word.

Dr. Brian Cuddy

Neurosurgeon with Roper St. Francis Physician Partners Neurosurgery & Spine 

Chairman of the Roper St. Francis Healthcare Board of Directors


Jim Berg

Interim Chief Executive Officer 

Roper St. Francis Healthcare

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