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Akron Children’s Hospital recognized for employee diversity by Forbes

02-14-2020 (Akron, Ohio )

Akron Children’s has been named to Forbes magazine's Best Employers for Diversity 2020 list. The hospital was listed as 172 out of 500 national organizations recognized for their efforts to develop a diverse workforce.

Working with market research firm Statista, Forbes surveyed employees on their perceptions of their employer’s workforce diversity and inclusion, asking questions about age, gender equality, ethnicity, disability and LGBTQ+. The survey encompassed organizations employing at least 1,000 people from 24 industries, including utilities, insurance, automotive, education and health care. The awards list can be found at

“As health care providers, being inclusive of a diverse patient population is something we already do each day,” said Carole Becerra, director of diversity and inclusion at Akron Children’s. “We want our workforce to reflect that same diversity and for our employees to feel like they can be their authentic selves.”

Becerra said Akron Children’s diversity is showcased in many ways, starting at the top: Its president and CEO, Grace Wakulchik, is one of a few female CEOs in Summit County. The hospital also has a workforce that is 85% female.

She added the hospital is also intentional about the programs it engages in and partners with.

“We are deliberate about engaging our employees and community through programs like Career Launch, our new workforce development program for allied health professions,” she said. “This program is designed to provide current employees and community members with educational opportunities to start or advance their careers. We want people to know there are other pathways to working in health care without becoming a nurse or doctor.”

Other ways in which the hospital has encouraged diversity include its Assuring Success with a Commitment to Enhance Nurse Diversity (ASCEND) program, which promotes diversity in its nursing workforce; its participation in the Academy of Health and Human Services at Akron Public Schools’ North High School; and its role as a sponsor and participant at the Akron Pride Festival.

In addition, a new initiative called Ask Every Patient Real seeks to increase the collection and use of race, ethnicity and language preference in order to provide culturally competent and equitable care.

Akron Children’s most recent employee engagement survey supported the results of the Forbes study.

“This is an independent award that we didn’t seek out, which makes it all the more special,” Becerra said. “Our annual survey, which measures employee perceptions of diversity and inclusion, showed that our employees feel a sense of belonging is high in our institution.”

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