Health Victories

DEI Certificate Program graduates second cohort of leaders

Written by Natalie Walters

Nineteen leaders from Wellstar MCG Health and Augusta University recently graduated from the second session of the DEI Certificate Program.

The leadership development training from Wellstar MCG Health’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging launched in the Spring when 16 leaders completed the inaugural course.

I really do believe it has grown a number of our leaders, and I’m really proud of what’s transpired over the last little while,” said Bernard Roberson, manager of DEI. 

The mission of the program is to ensure leaders are fully embracing, living and practicing the principles of DEI. At the end of each cohort, a one-on-one is set up with each leader to talk about how they can implement what they’ve learned. At the end of this cohort, Wellstar MCG Health President Ralph Turner spoke a challenge to the group. 

“The leadership sessions allowed me to discover my personal biases and appreciation for DEI,” said Anna Ramanathan, director of administration for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

Roberson said leaders often think they may not need a DEI course because they know enough about the subject.

“And what we’ve discovered from this and the first cohort is this wonderful revelation that there is so much more to learn,” he said. “For most of them, I would say the process has helped to evolve their leadership style, their willingness to be courageous and taking different steps to build a stronger healthcare community and to better engage the patient population we serve.”

Moving forward, the DEI Office will hold one training per calendar year. It also plans to offer an executive retreat for executive leaders and potentially board members, too, who may not have the bandwidth for the nine-week training course.

The third DEI leadership cohort will be announced sometime in early 2024. It has space for 20 leaders.