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Panelists discuss health care diversity issues at regional summit

Keynote speaker and UT Southwestern Medical School alumnus Dr. John Carlo, Chief Executive Officer of Prism Health North Texas and President of the Dallas County Medical Society
Keynote speaker and UT Southwestern Medical School alumnus Dr. John Carlo, Chief Executive Officer of Prism Health North Texas and President of the Dallas County Medical Society

“Who’s going to sit in your seat?” Susan Hernandez, UT Southwestern Chief Nurse Executive, asked the audience at the 2017 Greater Dallas Healthcare Diversity Summit.

As part of a panel discussion on health care diversity issues, Ms. Hernandez’s query to summit participants brought home the message that an important aspect of succession planning is to prepare mid- and senior-level underrepresented employees to ascend to leadership positions.

Hosted for the fifth consecutive year at UT Southwestern by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, in partnership with the National Diversity Council, the July 11 summit boasted a record turnout of attendees from around the region. The event promoted diversity and inclusion in health care by gathering industry experts to share their strategies, ideas, and solutions.

Kimel Hodges, Assistant Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, moderated a panel of diversity thought leaders that included Ms. Hernandez; Ildemaro Gonzalez, Vice President and Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer, Parkland Health & Hospital System; Nydia Gonzalez, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for John Peter Smith Health Network; and Guwan Jones, Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer for Baylor Scott & White Health.

Topics discussed included disability inclusion in health care, leveraging data to drive organizational change in diversity and inclusion, overcoming language barriers in clinical care, and succession planning for women and people of color.  

Keynote speaker and UT Southwestern Medical School alumnus Dr. John Carlo, Chief Executive Officer of Prism Health North Texas and President of the Dallas County Medical Society, discussed the lack of LGBT data and research available to health professionals – and why this contributes to the challenge of eliminating stigma and discrimination in the health care industry.

“The feedback we receive from attendees and the follow-on activities that occur let us know that the summit is making an impact,” said Merridth Simpson, Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, and Chair of the summit’s planning committee.

The event concluded with Dr. Jessica Moore, psychiatry resident at Parkland Hospital, accepting the Greater Dallas Distinguished Advocate in Healthcare Award. The honor recognized her work to establish a partnership between UT Southwestern and Paul Quinn College to provide services to the underserved North Texas community.