Dear Community Members,
Last Friday, June 19, 2020, marked the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Rutland Regional Medical Center feels it is important to recognize and acknowledge the work that must be done to combat racism in our country. While our nation continues to grapple with the tragic deaths of George Floyd and other members of the black community, we feel it is important to call attention to the racial disparities disproportionately affecting people of color with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although non-white Vermonters are only 6% of the population, they have accounted for more than 9% of our COVID cases. Social determinants of health, which include food and housing insecurity, economic inequality, inadequate public outreach, along with social and systemic racism, contribute to these health disparities. While the number of COVID cases in our area have been lower than some other parts of the State, we know that these same social determinants of health contribute to the higher rates of other adverse health outcomes that we see among our communities of color.
We have been moved by recent events and inspired by the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Rutland and across the nation. With guidance from our executive leadership team, and the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, Rutland Regional is committed to addressing the health disparities here in our own community. This work will include:
- Present unconscious/implicit bias training for all employees
- Collect data to help examine the disparities in our own community for our members of color and other marginalized groups through the Community Health Needs Assessment survey. We will use the information gathered to provide guidance on key initiatives to reduce inequities
- Develop strategies to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce and community
- Provide educational programs through our Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Nursing Continued Education Units (CEU) focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare
- Strengthening partnerships with community organizations aimed at addressing inequalities related to food, housing, and other social determinants of health
It is important for our patients, colleagues, and people of color within our community, as well as those who are marginalized for any reason, to know that we stand with you. Be assured that we will continue to put forth every effort to ensure you are safe, cared for, and respected here at Rutland Regional Medical Center.
Melbourne Boynton, MD, Chief Medical Director
Betsy Hassan, DNP, Chief Nursing Officer
Philip Lapp, MD, Medical Staff President