June 17, 2022

A Message From Our CEO – Juneteenth


It is hard to believe that it has been two years since George Floyd died under the knee of a White police officer.  I hoped demonstrations, marches, and allegiances would start dismantling years of systemic racism. But two years later, systemic racism continues to harm Black, Brown, and other persons of color and our communities.  With the upcoming anniversary of Juneteenth, I want to review with you what we are doing here at HHC.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is a top priority at HHC. The Board and Executive Leadership team are committed to creating an inclusive culture. We are intentional about providing opportunities to reflect on, learn from, and better understand the voices of staff, patients, and the communities we serve.

Our DE&I Work

Over the last year, we partnered with The Morten Group to conduct a DE&I assessment that:

  • Reviewed policies and procedures
  • Assessed the state of DE&I in our organization qualitatively and quantitatively
  • Identified issues, strengths and opportunities inside and outside our organization

We provided customized trainings for all staff and board on Microaggressions, LGBTQIA 101, Cultural Humility, and READI Training. We will soon offer training on Power & Privilege to all providers and manager-level and above staff.

Other Steps 

We know training alone is not enough to create a more inclusive and equitable organization. We also:

  • Increased salaries for frontline staff, resulting in some of the highest rates in the FQHC Chicago market and continue to work with our union partners around pay and equity
  • Developed and implemented a fair, equitable, and structured compensation program for non-union staff and created salary bands – crucial to cultivating a sense of equity and fairness in our workforce
  • Established career ladders for leadership positions to allow staff to gain new skills in management while also supporting practice managers

What’s Next

In the coming months, The Morten Group will continue to support our efforts. They will help us to:

  • Relaunch our DE&I Committee, guiding current co-chairs in selecting committee members and reconvening as a new group
  • Create an organizational DE&I action plan with specific goals, objectives, and measurements of success for both qualitative and quantitative metrics

We are also excited to unveil HHC’s 2023-2025 strategic plan very soon and inspired to do even more! Our strategic plan aligns DE&I initiatives with organizational goals. It also embeds DE&I principles into our care delivery models to enhance high-quality care and patient outcomes.

Further, we will commit to addressing social determinants of health for our patients, reducing barriers to care, and doubling down on our commitment to a more diverse workplace at Executive and Board levels.

Dismantling hundreds of years of systemic racism is no easy task. We choose to begin by committing to restructuring systems that perpetuate it.

Thank you. 

Nicole Willis

Chief Executive Officer