Putting Health Equity into Practice

UW Health is committed to employing a diverse workforce and cultivating a workplace culture rooted in equity, inclusion and anti-racism. This past year we launched many diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) projects, process improvement work and culturally inclusive care for patients – all for better patient experiences.

DEI language added to nomination forms

With the Nurse Excellence Awards consistently lacking diversity, the Nursing Recognition Council recognized a change was needed. With direction from Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, VP, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and support from Nichole Lloyd, BSN, RN, Perioperative Services and Council Chair, the council added language to the form to encourage nominations for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and/or other historically marginalized group members. “There is much more work ahead, but this was a first step in dismantling systemic racism within our recognition program,” says Nichole. “The Nursing Recognition Council is committed to fostering an equitable and inclusive environment for all who work and receive care here.”

Personal care products added to MyChart bedside are now more inclusive

When a Black patient shared that the hospital’s personal care products were not suitable for his hair and skin, action needed to be taken. Leaders from Nursing, DEI and Procurement Services engaged the Nursing Products and Technology Council to better meet the needs of our diverse patient populations.

“This feedback heightened our awareness, as we always want to do what’s best for our patients,” says Nicole Vlasak, RN, Chair-elect, Nursing Products and Technology Council. “The DEI team helped us find products to offer our patients and we used an assessment tool to make the final selections.” Pictures of these products are now visible on MyChart Bedside, allowing nurses and staff to ask patients what they need, and for patients to choose the products that best meet their needs.

Asian, Asian American/Pacific Islanders find a new sense of community

Linda Xiong, BSN, RN, Associate Nursing Informatics Specialist, helped create an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Asian, Asian American/Pacific Islander employees.

“One of my first tasks was to help draft a message against anti-Asian American violence and racism. I felt a lot of responsibility to ensure that we got it right,” says Linda, who serves as ERG co-chair. “The outpouring of support from colleagues was inspiring. It can feel isolating to be the only person of color in your department. I’m proud that our ERG has created a sense of community and belonging that was not present here before.”

Supporting Latinx community through education and resources

For Loyda Braithwaite , MSN, RN, AGPCNP-BC, AOCNP, providing the best patient care and giving back, especially for the Latinx community, boils down to doing what’s right. In addition to patient care, Loyda works with local community organizations—including Latino Health Council of Dane County and Catholic Multicultural Center—to provide cancer education to the Latinx community via a monthly radio program and a breast cancer support group.

Check out more stories featuring the great work of our nurses in the 2021 Nursing Annual Report (pdf).