MANCHESTER, NH — Network4Health (N4H), a collaboration of more than 40 area healthcare providers, announced its initiative to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion among its member organizations. N4H was established in 2016 to improve access to and delivery of behavioral health services in the greater Manchester, Salem, and Derry areas. This diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program is yet another way to improve healthcare and mental healthcare outcomes for residents.
The DEI initiative will help N4H create culturally-effective organizations that are staffed by informed and aware individuals who strive to create environments of respect, integrity, and caring.
“We want this effort to help our partners build and leverage a diverse and inclusive workforce that mirrors the communities they serve,” said Peter Janelle, Executive Director of Network4Health. “If we can focus on reducing stigma and honoring the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals, we will by default promote equity and decrease disparities in access to services. This, in turn, will lead to better health outcomes for our region’s residents.”
Recent focus groups of N4H members showed that several agencies were committed to increasing their competency in the areas of diversity, inclusion, racial/social equity, and racism. In particular, members sought to improve their DEI capabilities around hiring and engaging diverse staff, creating equitable employment policies, and understanding how bias affects our communities and services.
N4H has engaged the services of James McKim and Organizational Ignition. McKim, managing partner of Organizational Ignition and current president of the Manchester NAACP, is a trainer and thought leader on diversity, equity and inclusion. “Diversity, equity and inclusion is not just about race or culture. It’s about how we promote understanding and respect of all people – no matter if they look like us or not, no matter if they come from the same economic background as us or not, no matter if they have struggled with addiction or mental health issues or not.”
McKim will conduct a series of workshops for N4H members and will work individually with partners on things such as improving hiring practices to promote diverse, recovery-friendly workplaces; making staff feel welcome and respected; hardwiring respect for diversity; and creating equitable policies throughout an organization.
McKim seeks to help organizations establish themselves as sensitive to these issues through actions, not just public statements. “Network4Health’s vision is to enable all residents — regardless of income, race, ethnicity, language, ability, gender, or identity — to have access to affordable, high-quality, medical and behavioral health services. But we know that to achieve that vision, our partners must not only understand the needs of our diverse communities, but also have the capacity to serve them effectively.”
To learn more about Network4Health and its member organizations, visit www.idn4-network4health-nh.org.