Seattle Children's keeps racism investigation findings private

Seattle Children's Hospital said it will adopt recommendations from an investigation into systemic racism at the hospital, but the board has yet to release the findings from the monthslong review, according to The Seattle Times. 

The investigation was prompted by Ben Danielson, MD, who cited institutional racism as his reason for resigning as the medical director of one of the hospital's clinics last year. He resigned in November after more than 20 years leading the Odessa Brown Children's Clinic in Seattle. 

In January, Seattle Children's hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Covington & Burling, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, to investigate equity, diversity and racism at the hospital. 

The hospital announced July 30 that the investigation had concluded, and the board adopted the recommendations made by Mr. Holder and the law firm. The recommendations include leading the institution with purpose and decisive action, hiring to increase and sustain diversity and making and sustaining an unequivocal commitment to antiracism and equity, diversity and inclusion.

"Moving forward, we will act with an unwavering commitment to deliver equitable treatment of pediatric care and pursue equitable treatment across Seattle Children's workforce while promoting anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion for all," hospital board chair Susan Betcher and hospital CEO Jeff Sperring, MD, said in a letter to workers and the community. "Where our past actions have not lived up to our aspirations and values, we are resolved to not only do better but lead the way."

Prominent local figures who oversaw the independent review of Seattle Children's efforts to combat systemic racism are calling for the hospital to release the findings. 

"Seattle Children's must act urgently to drive meaningful change and achieve more equitable outcomes at Seattle Children's. If it does so, Seattle Children's can inspire broader, long-overdue change throughout the field of pediatric healthcare," the hospital assessment committee wrote in a letter to Ms. Betcher. "To that end, we strongly encourage the board to publicly release at least Covington's eleven findings statements, as well as Covington's complete recommendations, to be fully transparent with the Seattle Children's community and to share the lessons from this assessment."

According to the letter from Ms. Betcher and Dr. Sperring, the board has directed the hospital's leadership team to form a task force to develop an action plan by Sept. 1. The plan will lay out how to implement the recommendations, and it will identify "public-facing metrics to track progress."

Read the full article from The Seattle Times here

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