September 9, 2020

UW Health's anti-racism strategy to promote health equity

Madison, Wis. — This year has brought equity to the forefront more than ever, including health equity. While health inequities are not new to our society, COVID-19 has affected people of color disproportionately at every level.

For UW Health, providing remarkable, high quality care must go hand in hand with increasing health equity. That is why we are placing renewed emphasis on our anti-racism strategies that touch every part of patient care.

UW Health's ambitious diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) vision is to be a leader in dismantling racism in ourselves as individuals, our system and our community. UW Health will work toward this vision within our health system and beyond it.

UW Health is expanding the DEI team which will allow it to better support systemwide initiatives. The DEI team is working to weave equity into every part of the organization, from health care delivery to financial investments and the supply chain. The health system is actively working to improve recruitment and retention of employees of color, expanding DEI professional development and training programs and integrating tools into decision-making and operational processes that improve equity. UW Health is building upon existing community partnerships and increasing its investment into communities of color. UW Health also plans to support healthcare-related public policy that addresses systemic racism.

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, named UW Health’s first chief diversity officer in 2016, was additionally promoted to vice president this month, elevating her role to executive leadership. This move enhances her ability to advance diversity and equity initiatives system wide while building partnerships to address social determinants and drivers of health in the community.

"Racism is a public health crisis," said Bidar-Sielaff. "As a healthcare provider and large employer, we have a role and a responsibility to address this crisis."