DEI Certificate Program kicks off for hospital, university leaders

Attendees listen during a session for Wellstar MCG Health’s DEI Certificate Program
Written by Natalie Walters

Wellstar MCG Health’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging kicked off the fall session of its DEI Certificate Program to support the professional development of leaders at the hospital and Augusta University.  

Twenty leaders are taking part in the program, which runs through Nov. 16 and consists of eight three-hour sessions. Its purpose is to prepare leaders to create better connections with employees and patients, including those from underrepresented groups and populations. 

The program, which meets in the Terrace Dining Magnolia Room, kicked off on Sept. 7 with Brennan Francois, chief diversity officer at Wellstar MCG Health, speaking on why DEI matters. 

“We live in a world of amazing and beautiful diversity,” he said. “Where this diversity is accepted, all entities connected to it thrive.” 

Other topics that will be discussed throughout the training include emotional intelligence, stereotypes, the story of Augusta and its people, bias and microaggressions. 

The DEI certificate program, which is open to Wellstar and AU leaders at the manager level and above, had 16 leaders earn the certificate earlier this year as part of its first cohort in the Spring. 

Francois said the team plans to hold sessions once a year. 

“Now that we are Wellstar, we have connections to the broader collection of leaders,” he said. “We have joined hands with Wellstar Chief Diversity Officer Le Joyce Naylor to enhance all DEI initiatives.” 

The current cohort will look at various dimensions of diversity in healthcare, including social justice, disability, LGBTQ, veterans, age, race, gender, religion and more. 

At the end of the course, participants will complete and present a group DEI projects, such as creating an informational presentation on a DEI topic to be used for online learning or creating a tool to collect DEI data for a department within the health system. 

The Office of DEI&B, in partnership with AU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is also offering a Certificate in Inclusive Excellence to teach leaders how to create a welcoming environment. It will consist of seven workshops that are limited to one-and-a-half hours each, with a virtual option available. 

For more detailed information go to the DEI webpage. To register contact Amanda Cruz or Bernard Roberson