Chief Operating Officer
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
San Francisco, CA
Why are you passionate about this type of work?
“I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams”, is a quote I live by and embrace with humility. As a Nigerian-American, it means I’m standing on shoulders of many that came before me. It also means I have a responsibility to make a difference.
What was your “aha” moment while working on equity-related efforts at your organization?
Equity should never ever be the sole responsibility of one person, be it the Chief Medical Officer, Human Resources Officer, Quality Officer, Interpreter Services Director or a Project Manager. Advancing equity should be a strategic priority of the organization, and accountability should rest on the health system’s Executive team.
What part of the Disparities Leadership Program has been the most useful in moving your work forward?
Establishing a burning platform and a framework to develop and implement a strategy that feels insurmountable (most of the time). I really, really enjoyed learning from other systems in our DLP cohort. It was an inspiring and bonding experience.
What is one piece of advice you would give anyone working on disparities/equity related efforts?
To truly make progress, changing the culture of the organization is paramount. Executives, physicians and nurses must embrace having conversations on this topic no matter how awkward or painful. From my perspective it’s the only way we can truly determine our baseline and target. If we do not discuss challenges in an open forum and what it means to us personally, we cannot address them comprehensively. Conversations about disparities and the history that’s perpetuated them are just as important, maybe even more so than simply stratifying outcomes by race, ethnicity and language. We also cannot truly advance equity if we ignore the impact institutional racism has had on your organization and the community you serve. Attempting to reduce disparities while ignoring current events that impact members of your workforce inside and outside work is a poor strategy. Post ACA we all embraced the philosophy of whole person care; we should apply these principles to our staff from all walks of life. Their experiences directly impact those of our patients.