Diversity & Inclusion in the Healthcare Workplace – Having Critical Conversations
Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates

Virtual Think Tank Series

Diversity & Inclusion in the Healthcare Workplace – Having Critical Conversations

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 • 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM (EDT)

Most healthcare organizations agree that a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture drive employee engagement, satisfaction and outcomes, however, prior to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, many still struggled to find the right combination of activities that would result in sustainable change. According to BCG, D&I initiatives were plentiful but ineffective, stating that “they underestimate the obstacles confronting an employee of a diverse group, perceiving a workplace with far less bias than actually exists.”

Prior to COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, there was not a great deal of focus on structural issues and challenges employees face. In these unprecedented times, it is going to take all voices. Diversity & Inclusion needs a new lens; it needs to move from the theoretical to the practical. Strategies for diversity and inclusion initiatives need to be rooted in data and people analytics so that proposals, investments and outcomes can gain leadership, employee and stakeholder buy-in. It will take intentional, inclusive leadership to harness the ideas needed to pull organizations back from the brink.

This Virtual Think Tank will be restricted to an intimate group of hospital and health system Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers, CHROs, SVPs and VPs of HR and Talent Management. These executives will share perspectives around critical diversity and inclusion issues, challenges and areas of concern that are front of mind as they navigate what one Healthcare HR Executive recently described as the “two pandemics: COVID-19 and Social Upheaval.”

In this session, Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates, Baystate Health’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, and CJ Floros, Laudio’s COO, will outline how data is informing a more analytical approach within the organization to effectively transform Diversity & Inclusion from abstract concepts to real-world applicability.

  • What does Diversity and inclusion mean to your organization? Does it mean anything different after the BLM movement than it did before?
  • How are you currently trying to impact change (initiatives, training, operationally)
  • What has worked well and been successful? Why?
  • What has not been successful? Why?
Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates
Chief Inclusion & Equity Officer
Baystate Health

Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates earned her bachelors in Speech Communication and English American literature from Hofstra University and has an MA & MAMC in Strategic Global Communication Management and International Relations/Political Science from the University of Florida. In 2014, Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates was awarded by the University of Florida the Graduate with Distinction for her academic achievement (magna cum laude) and work on Cultural Dimensions Theory and Provider Patient Interaction. She is also a Fulbright-Hays Fellow in which she studied International Relations focusing on Monetary Unions, Economic Stability and Yoruba Culture in West Africa. She  has worked in Japan and with the Japanese consulate for 3 years as a English Language Teacher and Cultural Ambassador in which the experiences has helped in shaping and understanding the role and the functionality that diversity plays within the organization and community.

Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates relocated with her family to Western Massachusetts and is currently Baystate Health System new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. She leads diversity and inclusion initiatives for the five hospitals, integrated, academic/ teaching health system. Her responsibilities will focus on the overall development and implementation of Baystate Health System enterprise-wide Diversity and Inclusion strategic framework. This will include assessing the internal and external environment/culture and develop and implement programs, cultural responsive care strategies, training, recruitment and other methods to increase the organization’s ability to attract and retain an inclusive population that serves our diverse patients, employees and community.

Previously, Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates was the System Director of Diversity and Patient Care Civil Rights at Lee Health for 11 years. During her time at Lee Health her role focused on what she calls the 4 C’s: Caring People (Lee Health employees), Corporate Social Responsibility, Community Engagement, and Patient Care (Culturally Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care, CLAS, and health equity), etc. Which encompassed the tagline that she developed – “DiverseLee: Putting diversity and inclusion into practice”. She served on the editorial board for Lee Health’s Nursing Matters Magazine where she was a regular contributor and author of the Diversity Column and served on the editorial board for the Newspress a local newspaper in Lee County that is part of USA Today. In addition, she has contributed articles relating to diversity topics for the NewsPress, Gulfshore Business, Florida Weekly, Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) and the National Diversity Council. Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates has extensive experience in Diversity and Inclusion education and training.  She received the FACE award in 2011 from D ’Latinos & Gulfshore Business Magazine, Hodges University, Corporate Diversity of Excellence Award, and the 2016 40 under 40 by Gulfshore Business Magazine. In addition, under her leadership Lee Health received recognition from Forbes Magazine as best employer for Diversity two years in a row in 2017 & 2018, as well as Forbes Magazine Best Employer for Women in 2017and the Horizon Council Diversity in Business award in 2018.  Yemisi is a certified trainer through Lee Hecht and Harrison and in Lean Management Systems– Job Relations through the Bilas Group, Inc.  She was an active member and a director of the board of the Western Chapter of the American College of Health Care Executives organization, Medicaid PSN Board of Managers, and Pennies for Community Progress (P4CP).  She was also actively involved in the community and participated in numerous community activities and initiatives in Lee County.

She looks forward to working collaboratively with the community and learning more about Western Massachusetts a place she and her family now calls home. She currently serves on the board of directors at Leadership Pioneer Valley, American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) diversity committee, MA, Dress for Success advisory committee in Western Mass, East Longmeadow School District Diversity Committee, and is a steering committee member for the Baystate Education Research & Scholarship of Teaching (BERST).  In addition, she is currently working on publishing a white paper on international nurse integration strategies at Baystate Health and was recently asked to join the executive council of the Conference Board which is a non-profit business membership and global think tank that has been around since 1916. She is a speaker and presenter on diversity topics regionally and nationally.

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