Message from Leadership
Michelle P. WIMES, JD
Senior Vice President & Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer
Children’s Mercy remains committed to diversity, inclusion and health equity. Nowhere is that commitment more visible than in the hospital’s decision first to hire a full-time Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer in 2020 and then to substantially grow the team focused on these efforts. To date, Children’s Mercy employs over ten full-time team members dedicated to these efforts.
We are focused on creating both an inclusive work environment for our clinicians, faculty and staff while providing culturally resonant care for the patients and families we serve. We acknowledge that combating racism and inequity is an ongoing commitment. The impact of economic, environmental and clinical disparities (social determinants of health), including diverse linguistic needs, may hinder the opportunity to access and receive quality and equitable healthcare services. The goal has been to foster an equitable, anti-racist and trauma-informed organization, one that underscores our founders’ desires to serve all children excellently, regardless of their backgrounds or individual demographics.
We have made much progress in the last three years including launching three major assessments (a Diversity Workforce Assessment, a Physician-Provider Cross Cultural Medical Assessment, and a Language Access Audit) which have formed the basis of our inaugural three-year DEI Strategic Plan. This plan focuses on workforce (recruiting, developing and promoting talented team members), workplace (fostering a culture of belonging), marketplace (growing our diverse supplier base), and community (ensuring we are meeting the needs of our diverse patients and families).
We have also re-structured our entire DEI Ecosystem including creating a new Executive Steering Council co-chaired by our CEO, Paul Kempinski, and the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. A new Gamechangers Network ensures that there is also department or divisional representation focused on DEI efforts on the ground. Additionally, in the last year, we have also launched a new Employee Resource Group (Access+Ability) focused on physical and mental disabilities. A Veterans ERG will launch later this year.
What continues to excite me most is the intentional effort we have embarked upon to strategically embed the concepts of diversity, health equity and inclusion into the way we practice medicine. It is a game changer and has helped to catapult us into one of the leading pediatric institutions for DEI in this country.