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Councils Bring Employees into Conversations About Wellness, Diversity

Councils Bring Employees into Conversations About Wellness, Diversity

 In olympic bobsledding, groups of two or four teammates must work together to navigate a sled down narrow, twisting chutes of ice at up to 93 miles per hour. One person’s movements being even slightly out of line can result in a missed gold medal—or worse, a crash.

Some might argue that it takes just as much finesse and focus for an organiza­tion to achieve such meaningful goals as giving employees the tools and resources to improve their health, or creating a more diverse workplace and eliminating health disparities for patients. At The Johns Hopkins Hospital, newly established wellness and diversity councils will coordinate these efforts and include employees in conversations and initiatives.


Reducing sugary beverages, creating mother’s rooms, enforcing a mandatory flu vaccination campaign and connecting employees with resources through Healthy at Hopkins are just a few of the existing initiatives at The Johns Hopkins Hospital aimed at creating a healthier workforce. But there’s much more that can be done.

A new 12-person Wellness Council meets monthly to discuss upcoming hospitalwide wellness efforts, including hands-only CPR demonstrations and new menu ideas from Nutrition Services. Council members act as “eyes and ears” between their department or unit and the council, providing insight on health challenges and on obstacles that keep employees away from educational resources. They also share best practices to avoid dupli­cating activities throughout the hospital.

“I’m someone who always thinks that more voices and more thoughts are better than one,” says Kris Lukish, vice president of human resources at The Johns Hopkins

Hospital, who heads the Wellness Council.

The hospital’s efforts to promote wellness will not only benefit employees but also earn it points on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Worksite Health ScoreCard. The 125-question measurement tool assesses how well an organization uses employee education, policies and programs to prevent heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions among employees.

Even small-scale actions, such as posting signs next to the 34 public-access automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs) on the East Baltimore campus, will increase the hospi­tal’s wellness score and promote wellness.


Acting as an umbrella to oversee The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s many existing de­partmental diversity committees, the new 35-member Diversity Council pulls from the wisdom of these “local” efforts.

The council will focus on three areas of importance: growing diverse talent across the enterprise and promoting a more inclu­sive workplace; identifying and eliminating inequalities to ensure world-class care for all Johns Hopkins patients; and building the cultural, linguistic and spiritual competen­cies of our employees.

One of the council’s goals is to avoid du­plicating efforts already in place by depart­ment diversity committees. For example, when the idea for a cultural competency needs assessment arose, council member Tammy Snyder shared that the Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine (ACCM) diver­sity committee was already working on one. The hospital council and the ACCM com­mittee are now putting their heads together to roll out an assessment for a hospitalwide audience.

To ensure that diversity is always a critical part of conversations and decision-making at the institution, the council is chaired by senior hospital leaders, including President Redonda Miller; Charlie Reuland, executive vice president and chief operating officer; and Deborah Baker, vice president of nurs­ing and patient care services.

“We want to raise diversity to the highest level of the institution and make it that kind of priority,” says Miller.


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