A nurse speaks to a Spanish-speaking patient about medication at VIMCare.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our vision for DEI: We will be a health system where all people feel welcome, respected, and valued, and where diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to achieving the CRH mission.

What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mean at CRH

Diversity: At CRH all people are valued for their unique qualities, experiences, and backgrounds that contribute to our mission to improve the health and well-being of the people we serve.

Equity: The intentional consideration of all people’s needs and the elimination of disparities and barriers to opportunities and access to care.

Inclusion: The behaviors that result in the fostering of healthy relationships where all people feel welcome and respected. 

Leading Change

by Jim Bickel, President and CEO of Columbus Regional Health

As a healthcare provider and major employer, Columbus Regional Health continuously evaluates feedback from our patients and workforce to help ensure we are meeting their needs and providing an excellent experience.

CRH patients and workforce members represent many races, ethnicities, genders, sexes, religions and abilities.

However, we stepped back in light of national and local issues of racism and discrimination to examine our processes, policies and practices through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to make sure we are also being equitable and inclusive across all aspects of our organization.

CRH has worked on DEI initiatives for many years, though these efforts have often been designed to address a specific healthcare access need. Examples include the launch of Volunteers in Medicine (now VIMCare Clinic) in 1996 to provide healthcare services to uninsured/ underinsured residents and Proyecto Salud to address language and cultural barriers for Hispanic patients.

I believe that DEI should be woven into our organizational culture, strategic plans and daily operations, and not viewed as an initiative or program. CRH’s DEI approach is multi-pronged. Our goal is to develop a framework and strategy to ensure that 1) our health system workforce is appropriately diverse and culturally competent, 2) equitable patient care is always provided and delivered, and 3) both the care and work environments are inclusive.

In 2021, we selected an outside partner, CulturaLink of Atlanta, GA, to conduct an organizational assessment of CRH. The assessment focused on organizational culture and communication, workforce policies and practices, physician recruiting and cultural competence, patient care practices and language access, data collection processes and community engagement.

Through this assessment and many conversations regarding DEI, we learned people interpret DEI differently, and a critical success factor was DEI definition clarity and continual transparent communication of strategy to our workforce and community. The CRH DEI Steering Committee first defined what diversity, equity and inclusion each means to our health system. Next, an overall DEI vision statement was created.

I look forward to building on the work underway and to keep conversations and learning about DEI going throughout the process. Through this work and the broader efforts from the many community organizations and individuals working to advance DEI, we will all help our community be more equitable and inclusive.

I believe that DEI should be woven into our organizational culture, strategic plans, and daily operations, and not viewed as an initiative or program.

-Jim Bickel, President and CEO

Illustration showing profiles of diversity.

Steering Committee members

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee oversees and supports the implementation of the priorities, while a Diversity Council is developing implementation action plans and monitors and measures results.

Jim Bickel, Steering Committee Chair CRH CEO
Julie Abedian CRH EVP/Community Impact Officer
Degaulle Haile, MD Obstetrics/ Gynecology
Daniel Noel CRH Nursing Director
Gregory Poe CRH Patient Experience Partner
Deepankar Sharma, MD Interventional Pulmonologist
Donald Trapp CRH Trustee
Emily Westhafer CRH Communications Lead
Rachel Woods, DOPediatrics