Report finds instances of institutional racism at Seattle Children's Hospital

The Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance is calling for the resignation of the CEO and the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Seattle Children's Hospital after an independent assessment found instances of institutional racism at the hospital. 

The assessment, done by an outside company called Covington, found some of the following: 

  • Seattle Children’s has improved the racial and ethnic diversity of its workforce, but racial disparities persist in leadership positions, promotions, and voluntary terminations.
  • Seattle Children’s culture of conflict avoidance and failure to address microaggressions, combined with widespread distrust in the Human Resources function, contributes to an environment that excludes and undervalues BIPOC workforce members. 
  • A widespread perception exists among the Seattle Children’s workforce that patients receive disparate treatment on the basis of race or ethnicity, which is exacerbated by the hospital’s inadequate reporting and feedback mechanisms.

You can read the full summary of findings here. 

"The official findings are clear and damning; hospital leadership has been aware of the insidious nature of anti-Black racism and explicit bias and done nothing," said Sakara Remmu, the lead strategist of the Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance. "Nothing to protect staff. Nothing to protect patients. Nothing to hold offenders accountable."

CEO of Seattle Children's, Dr. Jeff Sperring said in response:

"This assessment made clear that Seattle Children’s has not lived up to the standards and the values we set for ourselves. As your CEO, I commit to you we will do better, and this work is my top priority. We must collectively challenge and continue to change the culture, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism in our organization.

I am resolved as the leader of this organization to drive that change as we start addressing the findings and recommendations. The Board completed its process and, as CEO, I will now take on Covington’s call for Seattle Children’s to "lead the way" and ask each of you to join me in the work ahead."

Sperring's full letter to staff can be found here.

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