• By Kelley Luckstein

Tackling diversity issues with innovative Mayo Clinic workplace development approach

October 26, 2021
a diverse group of Mayo Clinic medical care givers all wearing masks and looking over patient information on a computer

ROCHESTER, Minn. — When analyzing the complex issues surrounding equity, inclusion and diversity in health care, examining all facets, subtleties and underlying problems is the only way to craft real-world solutions, according to Anjali Bhagra, M.D., medical director for Mayo Clinic's Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.

"We often get stuck in analysis paralysis or admiration of the problem," says Dr. Bhagra.

Dr. Bhagra will dig deeply into the tough questions that equity, inclusion and diversity issues present at an upcoming conference and continuing medical education course that she is co-directing. Dr. Bhagra will deploy the "RISE" approach she helped develop at Mayo Clinic for workplace development.

RISE consists of these four pillars:

  • Reflect
    Reflection in current experiences, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to develop better emotional intelligence, awareness and regulation.
  • Inspire
    Inspiration by leaders from diverse backgrounds, fields and career stages within the institution through stories, challenges and advice.
  • Strengthen
    Strengthening skills in collaborative negotiation and executive presence and leading with agility and enhancing leadership styles.
  • Empower
    Empowerment through accessing existing tools, timely resources and strategies to create value in effective coaching and mentoring.

"As someone who believes that empowered belonging should be the hallmark of every work environment and that all voices and perspectives should be heard and honored, I'm so excited to present RISE for Equity: Reflect, Inspire, Strengthen & Empower 2021," says Dr. Bhagra. "Using the RISE pillars, we will lean into the discomfort surrounding equity, inclusion and diversity challenges; hear from experts in different industries; cross-pollinate ideas across the health care industry; and discuss innovation, strategies and emerging trends."

Speakers at RISE for Equity will include:

  • Kiera Fernandez, chief diversity and inclusion officer and senior vice president, Target Corp.
    She will present "Workforce Climate and Culture."
  • Carolynn Johnson, CEO, DiversityInc
    She will present "Anti-Racism and Racial Justice: Is Your Organization Ready?"
  • Chris Moreland, chief diversity officer, Diversity Crew
    He will present "Transformation and Global Diversity."
  • Tim Suther Sr., vice president of Data Solutions, Change Healthcare
    He will present "Leveraging Data and AI for Health Equity."
  • Sonoo Thadaney-Israni, executive director of Presence, Stanford University
    She will present "Equity Considerations When Leveraging Technology to Advance Inclusion and Belonging."

"Health care entities need a national conversation about equity, inclusion and diversity issues, but they also need a sound methodology for dissecting those issues," says Cathy Fraser, Mayo Clinic's chief human resources officer. "The RISE program offers a groundbreaking, comprehensive approach." Fraser also is interim director of Mayo Clinic's Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity and a co-director of the RISE for Equity: Reflect, Inspire, Strengthen & Empower 2021 conference.

RISE for Equity attendees will collaborate with speakers and panelists to answer some of the uncomfortable questions that pepper the equity, inclusion and diversity dialogue, including:

  • What should you do when your staff members demonstrate racist behaviors at home? 
  • Why has the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected Black and Indigenous people, and people of color? 
  • How can artificial intelligence be used to help versus hurt biases? 
  • What can you do to ensure your boardroom includes diverse perspectives? 
  • How can you strengthen your sexual harassment policy? 
  • How can you ensure your workplace diversity program is not only on paper, but also in practice?
  • Do your models of care account for marginalized populations?
  • What strategies can you use today to build an environment of empowered belonging? 

The RISE for Equity: Reflect, Inspire, Strengthen & Empower 2021 conference will be held Nov. 4–6 in person at Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Learn more about the conference and register.

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About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news. For information on COVID-19, including Mayo Clinic's Coronavirus Map tracking tool, which has 14-day forecasting on COVID-19 trends, visit the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Resource Center.

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