“ Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity , but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives , where they work , where their children play , and where they gather in community .”
Such acknowledgments are small but important steps toward counteracting the harms of centuries of systemic discrimination . And they speak to the growing realizations that existing health systems do not equitably serve the American public and that change is urgently needed .
Public health laboratories can play a key role in this transformation . Laboratories across the globe provide essential screening , testing and surveillance services to protect all members of society — centering diversity , equity and inclusion ( DEI ) at the heart of public health ’ s mission to deliver positive health outcomes to all communities , including those that have too often been overlooked and underserved .
Diversity is important for productivity , for talent management , for innovation , for communication . To serve a community that ’ s diverse , we should strive as hard as we can to look like the communities that we ’ re serving .”
Marilyn Bibbs Freeman , PhD , M ( ASCP )
A Table for Everyone
To be most effective in this role , public health laboratories must foster their own culture of inclusion and acceptance , recognizing the differences that exist between individuals and respecting and supporting a diverse workforce that embodies a variety of cultures , backgrounds and lifestyles . An inclusive environment supports diversity in all its forms , welcoming people ’ s differences and ensuring their needs are acknowledged and accommodated to allow them to be successful .
“ Diversity is important for productivity , for talent management , for innovation , for communication ,” said Marilyn Bibbs Freeman , PhD , M ( ASCP ), deputy director of the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services . “ To serve a community that ’ s diverse , we should strive as hard as we can to look like the communities that we ’ re serving .”
Mighty Fine , MPH , CHES , director of the Center for Public Health Practice and Professional Development at the
ELP Cohort 13 ( Fall ) meets virtually to discuss projects
6 LAB MATTERS Spring 2021