Skip to content

Conversation continues on finding ways to tackle racial, ethnic concerns

Work toward a more welcoming culture, end workplace and patient bias and assess the experience of minority patients.

These suggestions and more came out of the town hall session, “Insights into our Identities: Race and Ethnicity” on Sept. 30.

It was a follow-up to nine other town hall sessions that took place in June and aim to reduce or eradicate racism at Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine and to create a more inclusive environment.

“People of color have expressed concerns about the environment at the health system and college, but employees from a variety of backgrounds have asked how they can be involved in creating a change for our organization,” said Lynette Chappell-Williams, vice president and chief diversity officer, Penn State Health, and associate dean of diversity and inclusion, College of Medicine.

The town hall focused on two questions: What does success look like for our organization to eradicate racism and create an inclusive environment? What does success look like for you, at a personal level of involvement, to create this environment?

Watch the town hall recording here
(Penn State Health ePass login required)

Some recommendations include addressing the presence of Confederate flags in the workplace, creating opportunities for employees to greet each other and make eye contact, providing personal growth opportunities for employees on diversity and inclusion, and identifying ways for employees to apply what they have learned at work about inclusion at home and in their personal life.

Chappell-Williams said the participants provided great recommendations and more is planned to help move the effort forward, including a town hall on breaking down barriers for people with disabilities, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30, and another on supporting our military, veterans and first responders, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 30.

Employees have two other opportunities to be more involved in advancing diversity. The first, presented through the Kienle Center, is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion “Ripple Effect Competition.” Penn State Health and College of Medicine employees are invited to submit a description of a program or project that could improve the experience of our racially and ethnically diverse co-workers, patients and/or learners. See details here. Entries are due by 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The second is through Wild Onions, an annual publication by the College of Medicine’s Department of Humanities. Members of the Hershey Medical Center community can share their original poetry, prose and visual art. See details here or email

If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email the Penn State College of Medicine web department.