UC Health Diversity, Culture and Inclusion Councils Work to Foster Open, Welcoming Workplace

Malik Jones first found his passion for diversity and inclusion work right in his community.

As a high schooler, the now-UC Health supervisor of Public Safety Communications volunteered at local homeless shelters.

“It made me want to serve as an advocate,” Malik said.

But he also found this passion in himself.

“Being part of the LGBTQ+ community, it also made me want to be an advocate for those groups in the workplace,” he said.

Malik’s interest in cultivating diversity and inclusion has carried through his professional career.

“I would rather be an advocate for inclusion than stand silent to discrimination, inequity, and social injustice within the workplace,” he said.

Malik serves as the chair of the 3200 Burnet Diversity, Culture and Inclusion Council, one of five such UC Health councils, each based at a different work location. The council chairs meet monthly to discuss their site-based initiatives and share ideas.

Established in the spring of 2018, the Diversity, Culture and Inclusion Councils are governed by employees of all levels of the organization unifying under one goal: to promote and support diversity in the key areas of the workforce, patient experience, community health and business partners. The councils help drive how we live out Our PRIIDE Value of Inclusion, as part of Our UC Health Way.

Malik brings an enthusiasm, openness and genuine desire to educate that make him a perfect fit for a council chair, said Joe Geigle, Human Resources director at 3200 Burnet.

“He does it with the purest of hearts. He’s never doing it to be recognized,” Joe said. “It’s just the right thing to do — it’s just what he does.”

Joe has witnessed Malik bring his love of advocacy to his work on the councils. And it’s evident when Malik speaks of his service.

“We need people in place to serve as that advocate for the individual who is afraid to speak up,” Malik said. “I want them to know that we’re here for them. I want them to know that we recognize all different ethnicities, that we recognize all different backgrounds.”

It’s not enough that a workforce is diverse, Malik said. A truly inclusive workplace is employees of minority backgrounds feeling heard, safe and engaged in their work.

“Are those people going to go out and say, ‘I work for the best company in the world, and you need to come work here?’” he said.

Embracing diversity and inclusion is also critical to our patient care.

“It’s important for a healthcare system because we serve patients from different backgrounds,” Malik said. “We want people from different walks of life to be able to come here and know that they’re welcome.”

Since its inception, the councils have focused their efforts on visibility and community involvement.

Significant initiatives include:

  • More than 50 employees participated in the Cincinnati Pride Parade.
  • Participation in Black Family Reunion.
  • Observance of Disability Awareness Month through volunteering at Bridgeway Pointe Assisted Living.
  • Free tours for employees of National Underground Railroad Freedom Center during Black History Month 2019.
  • New options for gender identities, sex assigned at birth, legal name and preferred name in Epic (patient electronic medical records) launched in conjunction with National Coming Out Day.
  • Participated in Cincinnati Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention awareness.
  • Volunteered at Su Casa Center in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
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