Devereux hosts Diversity, Equity and Inclusion event featuring Lion’s Story’s founder Dr. Howard Stevenson
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health formally launched its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) organizational transformation with a virtual workshop for its 7,500-plus staff featuring Lion’s Story founder Dr. Howard Stevenson, a nationally recognized clinical psychologist and researcher on negotiating racial conflicts using racial literacy.
Devereux recently partnered with Lion’s Story, which helps prepare individuals and organizations to navigate and resolve racially charged situations using research-based strategies. During the workshop, Dr. Stevenson shared personal experiences and stories from his upbringing, along with strategies to reduce, recast and resolve the stress of in-the-moment, face-to-face racial encounters.
“We want to thank Dr. Stevenson for leading such a thought-provoking and experiential discussion that will inspire us as we work in solidarity to dismantle systemic and structural racism – starting with ourselves,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “We are excited to begin this journey, united as a Devereux community by a shared commitment to social justice.”
About the workshop …
During the workshop, Devereux team members from across the organization learned about the following topics.
“Sometimes, when it comes to racial conflict, you have to know how to be prepared, process and plan, but there are other times you have to know how to protest. You have to know how to speak up, do something, assert yourself and challenge the injustices you see in the world,” Dr. Stevenson shared. “In order for us to prepare for racial moments, and protest them adequately, it is going to take practice – it is going to take a certain amount of resolve to face the things we are afraid of in a world that is so afraid to even have a conversation about race.”
Dr. Stevenson encouraged Devereux employees to examine their own biases, beliefs, experiences and traumas to deconstruct the impact racism has had on their lives, and then share their racial story.
“A West African proverb tells us, ‘The lion’s story will never be known as long as the hunter is the one to tell it,’” Dr. Stevenson explained. “Everyone has a racial story, and everyone’s racial story is powerful and important. My racial story is not better than yours, and your racial story is not better than mine. If we really want to get to the heart of how we navigate face-to-face racial moments, we have to go back to a time when we first learned how to talk about race, and how not to talk about it; how to be afraid; and how to hide and dodge conversations about race in a particular way.”
About Devereux’s DEI effort
Devereux has committed to a multi-year, organizational transformation related to the issues of DEI. We consider this a critical component to the fulfillment of our mission, as well as the promise of our Family Standard, which drives us to consider everything we do from a family member’s perspective.
Our DEI effort is led by a Steering Committee comprised of members of Devereux’s senior leadership team, as well as a diverse group of team members from across the country to ensure both forward momentum and regional relevancy.
Currently, Devereux leaders, Steering Committee members and DEI Champions – who will help drive and sustain DEI efforts across the organization’s 13 centers – are undergoing intensive DEI training and self-reflection.
“We are deeply committed to creating and maintaining welcoming, safe spaces for all, and are taking active and meaningful steps toward inclusion. We want to thank Devereux President and CEO Carl E. Clark II and our national Board of Trustees for their steadfast support,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rhea Fernandes, Psy.D. “As we move forward, we will invite our team members to share their viewpoints, beliefs and experiences to help direct our DEI plan. We want to create an environment of growth where our employees feel secure and supported in this journey.”
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