CEO update: 7,000 strong against COVID-19 related racism and discrimination

stained glass window with inclusive text, CEO update 7000 strong against COVID-19 related racism, discrimination, xenophobia, prevent discrimination, vulnerable groups

Dear Colleagues,

Hennepin Healthcare, along with Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota, stands strong against racism and xenophobia. At a time when we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, this seems especially important to reiterate and to stand strong alongside our Asian community. Our values of respect and compassion guide us to support our patients and colleagues in the face of virus-related racism and discrimination. We are 7,000 strong and a force of good against COVID-19-related racism and discrimination.

Since the spread of COVID-19, there has been a significant increase across the country in racism, stereotyping, bullying, harassment, and discrimination toward people who are of Asian descent. We know that racial and ethnic identity and group membership do not confer a greater risk of contracting or spreading the infection. Meanwhile, research has demonstrated that racism and discrimination contribute to worse physical and mental health outcomes for targeted groups. Targeted groups are at increased risk during illness outbreaks because they are more vulnerable to attacks and may not seek care when they need it out of fear of experiencing discrimination. Our 7,000 strong in Hennepin Healthcare includes diversity in cultural backgrounds, and we are stronger because of this diversity!

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has initiated a campaign against virus-related racism and discrimination that includes a hotline individuals can call if they have experienced discrimination related to COVID-19. As an organization that both employs and serves a large population of Asian and Pacific Islanders, we want to make sure that our friends, patients, and colleagues know that we are here to support each other.

Hennepin Healthcare condemns the use of language that stigmatizes and promotes bias and xenophobia. We encourage taking active steps against racism and discrimination including speaking up when witnessing racist acts, building connections with targeted groups to increase the visibility of their experience, and reporting incidents of discrimination to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights by calling 651-539-1133 or 1-800-657-3704. Staff are also welcome to report concerns using our event reporting system or compliance reporting website should they encounter instances of xenophobia within the organization.

Thank you for your continued commitment to our values, to each other, and to our community.

Jennifer DeCubellis

Chief Executive Officer

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