At Compassion & Choices, diversity, equity and inclusion are at the core of who we are. We are committed to these values across all of our work.
In 2018, we accelerated our work to better reflect the diverse backgrounds of our nation within our own workforce and the movement alike. Compassion & Choices implemented three significant changes that served to catalyze our efforts:
- A new strategic plan, which elevated the issue of ensuring an end-of-life movement that represents the diverse demographics of our society to a top strategic objective.
- A diversity and inclusion values statement reiterating our commitment to ensuring all people receive healthcare consistent with their values and priorities.
- Increased funding within our FY19 budget, and subsequently our FY20 and FY21 budgets, to advance our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts both internally and externally.
Choice and options for care at the end of life should be universal. We are working diligently to make sure all people — regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political affiliation — have the resources and tools they need to plan for an end-of-life experience that reflects their wishes and priorities.
Our new Community Engagement web portal outlines the grounding principles for this work and our efforts to raise awareness, educate and empower everyone to chart their own end of life journey. Some of our activities include:
- Early establishment of our African American and Latino Leadership Councils consisting of many community leaders, including faith leaders, physicians, nurses, executives and policy makers to provide counsel, insight and leadership into our efforts.
- A robust outreach campaign that includes a library of educational tools and resources, culturally competent messaging and videos, and impassioned letters and webinars to inspire people from underserved communities to begin their path to advance care planning.
- Partnerships with communities and organizations to empower, educate and advocate for end-of-life options among underserved communities.
We recognized that drawing from different opinions, backgrounds, beliefs and life experiences inspires creativity, innovation and growth. To ensure the value that such a diverse workforce could bring to the organization, we developed clear objectives that have led to the following activities:
- Hiring leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion to guide our ongoing actions to continue growing a diverse team.
- Implementing education and training to address implicit and explicit bias. This includes an annual mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training for all staff, as well as periodic in-service sessions to cultivate discussion and inclusivity.
- Establishing policies and programs to foster a workforce that resembles the different races, ethnicities and cultures of our nation. These include broader opportunities for mentoring, advancement and recruitment.
- Actively seeking vendors, contractors and partners from underrepresented groups to ensure equity in all areas of our work.
Our Progress to Date
Early progress is encouraging. Our programs are thriving from the many diverse perspectives we now draw from, and will only get stronger as we continue to embrace a broad mix of cultures, traditions and faiths. We have had some of the strongest years programmatically in the history of the end-of-life options movement. This includes the authorization of medical aid in dying in several states, successfully protecting all authorized states and advancing public education efforts to empower people, especially African Americans and Latinos, to “Finish Strong.”
While we are encouraged by this progress, the COVID-19 pandemic and current events have served as a reminder that we must continue to prioritize this work. With the leadership of our diversity, equity and inclusion experts we will continue to implement new approaches and strategies to dismantle systemic inequities and create a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.