A new diversity, equity & inclusion effort being launched by Healthline Media will see the firm work toward evening disparities via its reporting and hiring.
The initiative, dubbed Transform, represents a sweeping look at how the media company presents content by focusing on health disparities and underserved communities, as well as recruiting more writers of color. In the process, the comprehensive initiative aims to address issues like access to healthcare, marginalization and using conscious language in health spaces.
“So many people want to do something – we’re all outraged by inequities, by violence and the negative factors in our lives – but oftentimes we don’t know what to do,” explained Steve Swasey, Healthline’s VP of communications.
According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by the firm, 71% of respondents agreed that marginalized communities face disadvantages in the healthcare system. In addition, 43% expressed dissatisfaction with healthcare overall.
Swasey elaborated on the importance of the program’s attention to conscious language.
“The language you use to define someone, describe someone, or especially in healthcare to discuss their condition, that can be a matter of life or death,” he explained. “If you are living with a condition and you go to a healthcare provider who says things that are offensive to you, you probably aren’t going to return. You might not go to any HCP, and your condition may exacerbate.”
The media firm’s commitment to DE&I also includes branching out from its traditional recruiting channels and focusing on historically Black colleges and universities, as well as a plan to hire more writers of color.
A volunteer program is also in the works, with the help of the organization VolunteerMatch. So far, more than 2,500 people have signed up. A search tool is designed to assist them in finding local volunteer opportunities to fight inequities in their neighborhoods.
“This is very much of a comprehensive, across-the-board focus for Healthline, and we’re proud of the work because we know it matters to people and people have to have this discussion,” Swasey said. “People must be informed and make wise decisions not only about their own personal healthcare, but the healthcare of others. Everybody should have the same opportunities for equitable healthcare.”