Voices of Inclusivity at Our Lady of the Lake Health

Apr 1, 2024 | Team Member Spotlights

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At Our Lady of the Lake Health, efforts to promote efficient and inclusive care continue to be elevated through our nurse-led Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. The council began in 1990 as a board committee and was reestablished in 2016.

Creating a culture of belonging is not just a choice; it’s a priority for us and part of who we are. By fostering an environment where diverse voices are heard, valued and celebrated, we are tapping into a wealth of perspectives, ideas and talents. As an advocate for a work culture of inclusion, I believe when we acknowledge and embrace the unique stories and passions each of us bring, we create a workplace that thrives on authenticity and mutual respect. It’s not about knowing someone’s story by a mere glance or by first impression but allowing everyone to share who they are and where they came from.

Chuck Spicer

President, Our Lady of the Lake Health and Our Lady of the Angels Health

The development of workplace and community programs continues to progress, including offering the Dialogue on Race Louisiana series for leadership and team members. The series is designed to increase knowledge about racism, the systems and structures that perpetuate racism in today’s social construct, and racism’s impact on everyday lives. Karen Estela, RN, infection preventionist and chair of Our Lady of the Lake’s DEI council, and Tippy Ventress, RN, director of nursing at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and council co-chair, embody our health system’s steadfast commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace. At the core of our journey is developing relationships and creating a sense of belonging among our team members. Acknowledging diversity is not just a formality. It is an integral part of organizational identity. By prioritizing the well-being and inclusivity of team members, Our Lady of the Lake aims to create ambassadors for health equity within the broader community. Recognizing and embracing diversity within the organization lays the foundation for team members to become advocates for health equity in patient care. This “why” for Karen and Tippy resonates deeply with the belief that a workplace that listens to and values its team members fosters an environment that empowers holistic care for patients and community with equity, justice and dignity. Our Lady of the Lake’s focus on creating a sense of belonging remains laser sharp. Our team continues to answer the call for inclusion in daily healthcare practices.

Welcoming All

Chase Cole, BSN, RN, CPN, has worked for our ministry for eight years and is a nurse at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital’s post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). Cole has been able to put into practice the things he’s learned through his work with Our Lady of the Lake’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. Completing the Dialogue on Race Louisiana program, dedicated to the elimination of racism through education, action and transformation, helped open his eyes to the privilege that he had throughout his childhood. “I learned that for some, you can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t have any bootstraps to grab hold of,” he says. “I appreciate working for an organization that is going to love people and meet people where they are,” Cole says. “We must continue the work we’re doing. Just as Jesus did, we need to have each and every person at the table. Not only be listening ears but also help amplify other voices – make sure that they’re welcomed with open arms.” Learn more about our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Interested in joining the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System team? Learn more here.

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