This year, four BWHers who exemplify compassion and cultural awareness were honored with Lotus Awards in recognition of their commitment to teamwork and fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion at the hospital.
“Inclusion is about making everyone feel accepted and valued for who they are,” said Jackie Somerville, PhD, RN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services, as she opened the second annual Lotus Awards ceremony. “We strive to make BWH a place where all patients, families and staff feel welcome and cared for. That is the cornerstone of all we do.”
The recipients of the second annual Lotus Awards are El Hassania Chafi, patient care assistant on Tower 7D, who won in the non-licensed clinical support staff category; Elizabeth Fenton-Diggins, RN, clinical nurse in Obstetrics and Gynecology, who won in the licensed clinician category; Joyce Johnson, MS, RN, nurse director on Tower 15CD, in the leader category; and Luz Solano, population health manager for BWH Primary Care/Central Population Management Program, in the non-clinical support staff category.
“I believe that cultural awareness and sensitivity make a big difference in the health outcomes that our patients achieve,” said Solano. “When we work to serve patients using their own language or customs, patients stay better connected to their care teams and are empowered to be active participants in their own health management.”
These sentiments were echoed in the nominations for each awardee.
Katie Fillipon, MS, RN, OCN, nursing director of Tower 7ABD, nominated Chafi for the award: “Hassania always goes out of her way to make a special connection with patients and families and understand their specific needs. Her kindness puts people at ease.”
After receiving her award, Fenton-Diggins said: “It is a privilege to have worked at the Brigham for 38 years caring for the women in our practices. I have laughed and cried with my patients and we have learned from each other about how to adapt and integrate our different cultures.”
For Johnson, interacting with patients from all over the world who travel to BWH for surgery is “a dream come true,” she said. In her role as a director, Johnson also focuses on mentoring nurses from multicultural backgrounds to enhance workforce diversity and ensure BWH reflects the communities it serves.
The Lotus Awards were established last year by the departments of Nursing and Patient Care Services to recognize staff who promote excellence, diversity, teamwork and inclusion at BWH. Instrumental in leading this work is the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee, co-chaired by Shelita Bailey, director of the Office for Sponsored Staff and Volunteer Services, and Martha Jurchak, PhD, RN, director of the Ethics Service. The award was named after the lotus flower, which symbolizes self-awareness, growth, knowledge and openness.
Christian Arbelaez, MD, MPH, of Emergency Medicine and faculty director for the Office of Multicultural Careers, gave a moving keynote speech. “Whether we deliver care in Dorchester or Haiti, we do so in a respectful and dignified way,” he said. “I am humbled and honored to be able to provide compassionate care to vulnerable patients every day.”