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Lahey Hospital & Medical Center Receives Gift to Improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center was one of four medical organizations to receive a grant to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

According to a release, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC), Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals and Winchester Hospital have together received a $1.13 million gift from the Cummings Foundation, a Woburn-based charitable entity funded by Bill and Joyce Cummings of Cummings Properties. Based on the organizations’ shared commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, this gift will support the hospitals’ efforts to address structural barriers to career advancement – such as training, child care and English proficiency – and provide opportunities for professional growth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored issues of disparities and systemic racism, with communities of color experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission, hospitalizations and age-adjusted deaths,” the release states. “Moreover, people of color are represented highly in essential service jobs such as food services, environmental services and housekeeping. While they are critical roles supporting patient care and hospital operations, these roles generally lack career advancement opportunities.”

This gift from the Cummings Foundation will enable change in establishing a more diverse workforce by creating a pipeline of diverse healthcare workers from local communities. The hospitals will pilot activities aimed at providing a path for advancement, efforts including advanced training for higher-paid essential positions such as sterile processing technicians, certified nurse assistants, phlebotomists, medical assistants and surgical technicians; reimbursement for incidental expenses such as transportation and childcare; and English as Second Language instruction. All program elements will be offered at no cost to participating colleagues.

“We are so grateful for this generous gift from the Cummings Foundation, which will enhance our ability to support our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by addressing structural barriers to career advancement, and investing in our entry-level employees,” said David Longworth, MD, president, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “This gift will allow us to provide critical training and support to our staff, and will in turn strengthen our talent pipeline.”

The gift will also support the recruitment and onboarding of a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program manager who will coordinate program activities across the hospitals. This individual will play a critical role in promoting and overseeing key program elements across the hospitals.

“We are eager to collaborate with the Cummings Foundation to establish new programming at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and Winchester Hospital that will provide career advancement pathways into higher-paid positions within our health system,” said Juan Fernando Lopera, Beth Israel Lahey Health’s inaugural chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer. “As one of the region’s largest employers, we can, and must, make a significant impact in dismantling systemic racism by closing the opportunity divide for people of color within our organization and in the communities we serve. We hope this pilot program will serve as a replicable model for other hospitals and institutions both within the health system, and beyond. With its history of social justice and meeting the needs of vulnerable communities, it is no surprise that the Cummings Foundation stepped into this space to provide such critical support.”