Bias. It turns out we all have it and have to be taught to recognize it before it impacts others. Trudy Sullivan Stoudamire the Chief Communications and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Health Catalyst sat down with me to talk about Healthcare's Diversity and Inclusion journey. Hope you enjoy.
Bill Russell: 00:07 Welcome to this week in health it influence where we discuss the influence of technology on health with the people who are making it happen. My name is Bill Russell. Recovering healthcare CIO and creator of this week in health it a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to developing the next generation of health it leaders. This podcast is sponsored by health lyric's. Professional athletes have coaches for every aspect of their life. To improve performance, you have many CIOs and health executives choose to go it alone. Technology has taken center stage for healthcare. Get a coach in your corner. Visit Health lyrics.com To schedule your free consultation. There's two new free services on our website that I want to make you aware of this week. Health insights is for individuals looking to profile your health it career forward two emails a week designed to give you insights that set you apart.
Bill Russell: 00:49 The second services this week, health staff meeting, this is for teams and really for managers. Looking to introduce your teams to new thinking from industry leaders to get the conversation started on the right foot. If you're interested in either of those services, check them out on the website. Today we're starting another of our interviews from the health analytics summit in Salt Lake City put on by health catalyst. If you're trying to apply data as a transformative part of your healthcare strategy. This is a fantastic event. I had one of those hallway conversations at the health catalyst summit with Trudy Sullivan, the chief communications and chief diversity and inclusion officer for health catalyst that I wish I had had the uh, the recording running and I didn't. So I tracked her down a little later and we, uh, had a great conversation on the journey that many health systems and organizations are on with regard to diversity and inclusion.
Bill Russell: 01:41 Here. It is. Hope you enjoy. Here's another session from the a has 19 health catalyst summit and I'm joined now by Trudy Sullivan, the chief marketing officer and chief diversity inclusion officer. Did I get all that correct? Communications and chief diversity inclusion officer? Yes. Wow. That's not normally two things that go together is it?
Trudy Sullivan: 02:06 I think they really do, but you don't often see them packaged that way. So this is a unique opportunity as we think about, um, the way in which we communicate and culture and all those variables to bring things together in a different way.
Bill Russell: 02:17 That is, that's interesting way to package that up. So the reason we're talking is you, you have a couple sessions, you had a lunch and now you have a breakout session on diversity and inclusion. And we had a conversation yesterday on diversity and inclusion and I wish I had had the microphone on m and a and didn't. And I feel that way. A lot of times I'll have a conversation in the hall and I think, Oh, should've captured that for the audience. Um, but give, give us a, an idea of the breakout session. And, um, let's start with this. Let's start with what are you finding as you talk to different healthcare organizations where they're at in terms of their, uh, journey, their diversity inclusion journey?
Trudy Sullivan: 02:54 Well, I'm finding as I talk to people here, that there is a level of disparity in terms of where people are on the DNI path. And it's fascinating to me and I think that's what we're going to really dive into when we have our inaugural panel or diversity of thought plus data to drive better outcomes. Discussion this afternoon we have an incredible group of leaders. A clinician is c-suite leader, um, a practitioner in DNI who's been at this for a decade at freighter. We have, um, somebody from Pharma and somebody from a large nonprofit looking at a disease that disproportionately affects women and the outcomes for men actually who face themselves, who find themselves facing that disease and those symptoms. And so we're going to talk and each time I talk with them, I discover we're all coming at this from a slightly different perspective, with the same end goal in mind. But we're all at different places in the journey.
Bill Russell: 03:49 Since you're saying you would think at an analytics conference we're going to talk about, we always talk about data bias. It comes up all the time. What's your background? I mean, how did you, how'd you get started in this space and, and how'd you end up in this role?
Trudy Sullivan: 04:01 Well, I started a long time ago because there was a really important leader in my life who embraced diversity and inclusion very early on before it was even labeled as such. And that was Mrs Elizabeth Dole. So I had the chance to work for her when I was working in biomedical services at the American Red Cross. And I learned so much from her, but she had a very disciplined commitment to ensuring that more women and people of color rose to the level of senior leadership positions within our organization. And she had a program, she selected people she gave funding for education or other opportunities that people felt would help them develop and then ensured when they completed whatever they felt would get them where they needed to be from a close gap perspective, that they were ready to move into a new role. And I learned so much from her and those that she exposed me to. And then I actually left the Red Cross and worked in a company where we had very little diversity and inclusion. And I was the, usually the only senior woman in the room
Bill Russell: 04:54 went into tech.
Trudy Sullivan: 04:55 Mm, yeah, I wanted to tag. And so I went into the semi semi world and it was a very different experience and then left there and went to aerospace and defense and had the benefit of the last seven years of practicing as an executive diversity champion in that organization and went on a wonderful journey with our business president. We took our leadership team from two women to nine in less than a two year period and totally changed the way in which our business ran, the results we achieved and the success that we had as a result of the diversity of thought that we brought to the table. So I got a lot of wonderful training in that environment, a lot of wonderful experiences and had been mentoring and working on, you know, sponsorship and directed development with specific goals in mind. I in the, in the organizations that I've been a part of, and Dan Burton and I had the privilege of working together at Micron, so he led strategy and I led comms and that was I guess more than a decade ago. And I started talking to him about what might come next. And, and the rest is history. I've been here since May and I absolutely love it.
Bill Russell: 05:57 Wow. So you've been here since May, um, you know, what are, what are, I'm trying to think of what the question is. You know, what are some of the challenges? I mean, so it's a, it's Salt Lake City, it's technology, although you're pretty, I mean I ran into people you're now starting to become global in terms of your, uh, your workforce. So what are some of the challenges that you face at health catalyst in terms of diversity inclusion?
Trudy Sullivan: 06:24 Well, it's really interesting. We have a remote workforce, so we're spread out all over 50% of our team members work remotely and we have one of the most engaging and dynamic cultures that I've ever been a part of. So there's not much that's broken. Actually, I'm really, really impressed. I'm going through an appreciative inquiry process to learn more about diversity and inclusion. And we're already at what I would probably label 3.O. So we're really focused on implicit bias training. Our second round rolling that out. And we're focused on making sure that as we grow and change that we have a team member population that looks like a patient population that our clients are serving. And so making sure that we reach up and outside the state if we need to or pull others into the state so that again, we have that diversity represented is the, is the opportunity I think we're most focused on.
Bill Russell: 07:15 All right, so what does, you're going to educate me. Okay. I'm not, I'm not going to pretend to know more than I do on this topic. It could be, and we talked about this yesterday, I was with the system. It was very diverse, but it was diverse only main, mainly because of the geography it was in and the type of services that it offered. It was just naturally diverse. Um, but that doesn't happen usually. I mean it's, it's something that needs to be worked at. So what does 1.0 2.0 I mean if you were to sort of say, you know, people starting their journey, it sort of looks like this, people that are starting to become more sophisticated, it looks like that's, what would that,
Trudy Sullivan: 07:48 well I think it's uh, very similar to the abcs that Daniel pink shared with us yesterday. I think the first, I think one. Dot. O is really attunement. Looking around and seeing when we focus on the success of our mission, are we best positioned to be able to do it? Do we understand the needs of our clients? Do you understand the needs of our team members? Do? Our team members represent the rapidly evolving demographics that we're seeing in the world around us. And there's so many spokes in what I like to call the diversity wheel. So there's so many dimensions of diversity and how we define, define ourselves. So I think first you start in that level of looking up out and seeing where are we really? And then the second level is really, you know, that, um, you know, the, the B for him was that buoyancy.
Trudy Sullivan: 08:30 He know the ocean of, um, I wouldn't call it rejection, but just awareness and examples of where, oh my gosh, we're about continuous improvement as a company and we've got some opportunities to improve in this space as well. So you start to at I think you really start to embrace the, um, where are those opportunities? What do they look like? What could we be doing differently and better to make sure that a couple of things are happening. And there are a couple of important things that one, the people that we bring in can bring their full selves to work. They can feel good, they can achieve their full potential, they can benefit from the respect, the love, the listening that they're given at health catalyst. And then you want to make sure you know that their voices heard, they can drive strategic change, that they feel empowered and they can make, um, decisions.
Trudy Sullivan: 09:16 But then you also want to ensure every employee is of every employee, but you, the last dimension that's most important is that they have the opportunity to look up and see a path for themselves. So if you look up and don't see anyone like you, then you don't tend to want to stay and you don't feel as engaged. And that's really what takes you to what I would call three Datto and three. Dot. O is much more centered around, I'll take the sea and just, let's just call it change. And that's where you start with very deep and focus training around your very specific challenges or opportunities and starting to look at, you know, where you might have gaps and identifying how to close that versus being aware of where you want to, where you want to move in alignment with mission. And then just making sure, again, for us, we want to make sure that every person on the planet has a great experience and the best prognosis as possible through their, their healthcare experience. That's what we're here to do. So when we think about that and we create that same experience for our team members, we have to have that diversity of thought that comes from everybody being represented in the organization.
Bill Russell: 10:15 And one of the things I love about this conference in health catalyst is, um, and Dan talked about this as well on the uh, uh, interview I did with him. Um, you're not only looking at changing your culture, you're looking at impacting the broader culture of, uh, of health care. So you're willing to come alongside health systems and help them on that journey and be a part of that. And that's, I guess part of your role.
Trudy Sullivan: 10:38 it is part of my role and it's been fascinating. At the conference we had, we had two opportunities to kind of break bread together with people who were really passionate about diversity no matter where they are in their journey. So we had a great dinner last night and a lunch today and at dinner last night we found that people are just at a place where they're, um, some are having task force committee meetings, some are hiring and standing up organizations. Some are still very focused on the patient experience and haven't connected the dots around the team member to patient dynamic. And so it's been fascinating. I've learned so much. There's some really great programs out there. Apparently mass general has a superb program. I didn't know anything about it. Tied to disparity and overcoming disparities. So it's, yeah, we want to learn as much as we can from others and see, you know, how we can improve experiences through this lens as well.
Bill Russell: 11:26 And it's, it's really about intentionality. One of the things, I want to come back to it, cause I want to get this, I want to record this for my daughter cause you and I had the conversation of my daughter just started in college and before she went in, we talked about, we did a lot of college trips just like every other a parent does. And we had conversations of what she should do and she started in forensic science and ended up in Asian Studies. But along the way she happened to ask me, what do you think is, you know, the next roles. And I talked about, you know, I, I, I talked about the emergence of data, machine learning, analytics and robotics and where all this is going to go. And she, she just, uh, and, and I, and I've talked to my kids about this stuff and my, my son's in machine learning and AI cause he listens to me.
Bill Russell: 12:12 My, my youngest daughter did not. And we talked about that. Um, because that's one of the challenges in health it is that you do not see a lot of women in uh, in key roles within health it. Um, and we specifically set out to hire more women in those roles and found there weren't that many of them there. And, uh, you know, you talk about that seeing role models and seeing people in those roles and how that limits, um, I, I'd love for you to just go through, you know, some of the things that some of the researchers, some of the things that you,
Trudy Sullivan: 12:43 yeah, it's really unfortunate. And I would say, you know, in my personal story, the same thing happened. We really are trying to change the dynamic in America around science, technology, engineering and math careers. There are gaps, big gaps, especially if you look at software coders and that kind of thing. There aren't enough people out there. And there certainly aren't enough women graduating with technical degrees for us to close the gaps that we see in the workplace. And so as you look to where can you make the most difference for young women, what research shows us and what is true for me in my own, in my own experience at about 14, things change. They're either passionate about it and they love it and they stay the math course or they look up and around and there's nobody that looks like them. And there's nobody to interact with that they can, um, find other shared interests in outside of the classroom.
Trudy Sullivan: 13:29 And there no way for them to understand beyond what you're doing with math in the classroom, how it works in the real world. And so having interactive experiences for folks, letting kids kind of spark the passion around seeing a teacher that looks like them. My daughter goes to an all girls school, she's a freshman 14, and this is the point where we lose girls. She came home and said, mom, I love my math teacher. And I said, why? And she said, she's not only is she smart and engaging and funny, but she looks like me. And so she'd had guess what in terms of the math teachers that were in front of her, a lot of men until the last couple of years. And it's changed her perspective about the subject. And so that is why that is so important. When you look up and see someone doing something interesting, they look like you. They in some other ways think like you, you can connect to them. That's where change will really happen. But there's so much potential for women also, if they can understand science, technology, engineering and math. It's around us every day. And there's lots of lots of cool applications. But I think going forward, most of the jobs we know today aren't going to exist. Right. And so if you're thinking about old school, you know, old school approaches to education, you're going to be left behind.
Bill Russell: 14:38 Yeah. That's kind of scary that the, the job aren't going to exist. Uh, I think the other thing that really is something that people, you know, we're talking about data bias, but I don't think people recognize how prevalent it can be and how impactful it can be. Um, now you said it's, um, uh, some cases and we've talked about some of them. Um, so what's, what's health catalyst doing around data bias? Or is this a topic for someone else or do you feel,
Trudy Sullivan: 15:07 I think the data bias element is probably a good topic for, um, for one of our, uh, you know, our, our other data experts, but I would tell you bias in general is bound in the people who are dealing with the data. Right? And so, you know, I think there's a quote, I'll get it wrong and I won't even remember who the quote belongs to, but I, I saw something that inspired me in the past and it was, you know, people usually only get to see about 90% of us, and that includes ourselves. So when we look in the mirror, we don't really remember. Like, in my case, my dad was a marine, you know, I went to Catholic school where discipline was a little different than it was in public school. I mean all those things shaped us and we didn't know the effect. While we are experiencing it, of that shaping, they all it, all that shaping results in biases and we all have them. Until you really go through the process of thinking and self reflection and some training and exposure, you don't really understand the bias. And so the bias inters not from the data itself, but from the interpretation of the data by the analysts.
Bill Russell: 16:01 So yeah, so say it's the person collecting the data could have a bias. It's the person writing code could have a bias. This person interpreting the output of the results could have a bias. So all that is it, you talked about the awareness, then you talked about the buoyancy then. So 3.0 is really, um, a intentional, um, retraining almost. I mean you're reaching, you would retrain me on, uh, help me to see where I have by. It helped me to see my blind spots. Cause bias by definition is almost, is there's a blind spot
Trudy Sullivan: 16:35 and w we would give you the opportunity to just open up the aperture and think differently about yourself, which automatically allows you to think differently about, about others. And so, you know, um, one of my favorite, one of my heroes, I guess mother Theresa, one of her best quotes is, you know, if we judge others, we have no place to love them. And judgment comes from bias. So you get rid of some of the labels you don't even know that you bring them to bear through really, really good implicit and unconscious bias training. And you know, we've been through some, uh, around of training at health catalyst. There's more to do. And when people start exploring their, from an individual perspective, it can be extraordinarily game changing. One of our panelists, um, shared with us that he hadn't really thought about bias, that he introduced into his own practice as a clinician or from the bias that he experienced when he was a kid growing up in a place where he was underrepresented and he came full circle just by taking the time to prepare for the conference. And sometimes it's those learnings and taking the time to again look in the mirror and really assess and challenge, um, that take us to a much more open place.
Bill Russell: 17:38 So we try to be pragmatic on this show if, if, if somebody is listening to this and they're in a health system and they're thinking, we want to, you know, this is something I want to bring up or something we want to move forward, we're, where do they get started? Where, what groups of people do they hang out with? Where do they go to talk?
Trudy Sullivan: 17:54 there's so many tremendous resources and it, you know, it depends on strategically where they want to start. They can certainly reach out to us and we can, we can give them perspective. You know, one of my colleagues will be here on the, on the panel, Andres Gonzalez at freighter. They're so far along in their journey, there's a really great organization called elevate that provides a lot of unique perspective insight and there's just some, a number of different places to start. But I'm learning of more and more of those organizations when I'm here and have been talking to people this week too. So it's, you know, again, starting with the, what's the need, what will greater diversity of thought do for us in our organization and where do we plug in? And once you can kind of ground it and anchor it a bit, then you know, you can figure out, do I start with just research?
Trudy Sullivan: 18:36 Do I connect with an organization? Do I find like minded people? What I'm hearing from most people here is that they're finding like, like minded people and they're starting with tasks, force, task forces and committees. It's hard to say you're starting with committees or working groups, right? And, uh, and really kicking around where do we want to go? What will success look look like? Where do we have challenges, what are we seeing that um, that's either concerning or you know, even more so from an appreciative inquiry perspective, what are we doing so well that we want to share with others or what are we doing so well that's the best practice in one pocket, the organization that we think others would benefit from. So there's again, there's lots of different starting points.
Bill Russell: 19:12 Absolutely. Trudy, thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. Thanks for listening. We have several other great interviews from has 19 please check them out on the website, iTunes or youtube and please come back every Friday from work, great interviews with influencers. And don't forget every Tuesday we take a look at the news that is impacting health it, this show is a production of this week in health it for more great content. You can check out our website at this week, health.com or the youtube channel this week, health.com just go to the top, click on the youtube link, and it'll take you there. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.