Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework

Our DEI Framework is designed to address racism, discrimination, and bias, and to foster improvements in all areas of our organization. As an organization, we are committed to advancing equity in our workplace, our workforce, and our marketplace. 

•    Workforce: Building a diverse workforce that leverages the unique talents and abilities of each individual.
•    Workplace: Fostering an inclusive work culture where everyone is valued for who they are and for their contributions to the organization.
•    Marketplace: Ensuring all patients, their families, and our community partners feel equally respected and served.

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Declaration

The declaration highlights our organization’s journey to foster a more welcoming and inclusive culture by working together to address racism, discrimination and bias, and advance equity. 

Our DEI Pillars

The following seven pillars lead our DEI work:

  1. Analytics & Metrics: Measuring and interpreting the impact of our work
  2. Community Action: Joining with community partners to promote health and well-beings
  3. Education & Awareness: Building knowledge, skill and comfort
  4. Governance & Leadership: Creating the structure that oversees our work
  5. Patient Healthcare Inequities: Identifying and addressing disparities in healthcare access and outcomes
  6. Strategic Staffing: Attracting outstanding diverse talent
  7. Supplier Diversity: Working and contracting with diverse suppliers

Strengthening Our Culture

Our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has generated the following initiatives: 

Connecticut Children’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Board ensures team members have a voice in our organization's DEI work. Members work together to provide guidance on DEI-related matters to help shape a more welcoming and inclusive environment at Connecticut Children’s.

Connecticut Children’s Support and Teamwork Resulting in Valuable Experiences (STRIVE) initiative is a partnership between the health system and Bloomfield High School (BHS) to promote future career opportunities to students. It was developed by Connecticut Children’s Research Operations and Development department to help build interest among students in healthcare careers and to increase workforce diversity at healthcare organizations. To date, STRIVE has hosted career days at Connecticut Children’s and career panels at Bloomfield High School.

The Pathways to Action Project addresses issues of diversity, equity and inclusion within Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health. Pathways to Action has hosted a series of town hall sessions; formed an equity committee; and suggested improvements to make hiring practices more equitable. Learn more about the Pathways to Action Strategic Plan.

One way we do this is by publishing articles on our parent-focused Growing Healthy Blog and our community health promotion-focused Advancing Kids Blog. Visit the Healthy Child Hub to learn more.

Our Publications and Policies

For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples and their ancestors cultivated and cared for the land along what we now know as the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers. Various tribes, all part of the loose Algonquin confederation, lived in or around present-day Hartford. These included the Podunks, mostly east of the Connecticut River; the Poquonocks, north and west of Hartford; the Massacoes, in the Granby-Simsbury area; the Tunxis tribe, in West Hartford and Farmington near the Farmington River; the Naubuc, Nayaugs, Wongunks, to the south in Glastonbury; the Pequonnocks in Fairfield; and the Saukiogs who lived in Hartford. Saukiog was the Native American name for Hartford.

We recognize Indigenous peoples and their ancestors as the traditional custodians of the land on which Connecticut Children’s hospital and clinics are now located. We honor and respect the relationship that exists between these peoples and nations and this land. These Indigenous peoples stewarded the lands and waterways that we now use for our own benefit. They farmed, hunted, fished, and bartered among neighboring tribes. They were invested in the success of their community. The peoples requested education and instruction from visitors and used the missionary interest in their community to their advantage.

Like them, we are dedicated to improving our community and expanding our discoveries to new communities. We continue in their path to bring a healthy vision forward to the next generation. We continue working to make the future generations better.

About the Authors:
Connecticut Children’s Risk Management Team researched and developed this Land Acknowledgement for our organization, which has been endorsed by Connecticut Children’s Executive Management Team. We wish to give special thanks to:

  • Michele Koss, RN, BSN, MS, CPHRM, CNML, Senior Director of Risk Management
  • Sandy Brink, BSN, RN, CPHRM, Senior Manager of Risk and Privacy Compliance
  • Theresa LeBeau, Risk & Claims Analyst
  • Lauren Steele, CHSP, Workplace Safety and Health Manager

In the fields of child health and community health, Connecticut Children’s recognizes the impact of racial and social injustice on families and communities. For many of our patients, families, team members and community partners, the consequences brought about by racism, discrimination and bias are dire. As an organization, we embrace the opportunity to address the root causes of such acts in order to promote radical healing, advance justice for our families and communities, and create sustainable change.

We must be clear – racism, discrimination and bias are unacceptable.

In order to bring about a more equitable society, Connecticut Children’s path forward as a healthcare system must include state-of-the-art medical and surgical care, as well as efforts to build stronger systems of support for children and families that address critical social determinants of health.

The following principles guide our work:

  • Embracing the Biology of Adversity, which details the impact of toxic stress on long-term health and development outcomes
  • Recognizing that the drivers of children’s health, development and well-being are largely related to social, environmental, genetic and behavioral influences
  • Strengthening protective factors to ensure families are better able to withstand life’s challenges
  • Engaging all sectors outside of healthcare that influence child health and development outcomes

Connecticut Children’s is proud to join the organizations and advocates around the world working to end racism, discrimination and bias, as well as the disparities that too often result in healthcare, education, employment, housing and other sectors. Our organization supports the Black Lives Matter movement, the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, the Hispanic and Latinx communities, and anyone who is marginalized, oppressed or faces inequities because of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or disability.

At Connecticut Children’s, our ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion work includes a new strategic framework designed to foster improvements in every aspect of our organization, including reducing healthcare inequities, building a more diverse workforce, and providing team members with education and training on racism and unconscious bias. As part of this journey, our divisions and programs are working to strengthen their office cultures. The Pathways to Action Project developed by Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health serves as one of many examples of transformative work going on across our organization under our strategic framework. To be successful, we must measure the impact of our interventions. We plan to do so through an organization-wide dashboard, which will hold us accountable for achieving progress in creating a more inclusive culture.

We are committed to addressing the root causes of racism, discrimination and bias. We pledge to work with our patients, families, team members and community partners across a variety of sectors to reduce the racial and social divide and advance equity.

Learn more about Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health.

At Connecticut Children’s, we are proud to offer high quality gender-affirming and developmentally appropriate healthcare to our transgender and gender diverse patients and their families through Connecticut Children’s Gender Program. Our program provides a safe and supportive environment for our patients to thrive and feel comfortable being their authentic selves in a way that strengthens their physical, mental and emotional health. We are also proud to stand with our colleagues at children’s hospitals and health systems across the country, as they remain committed to providing gender-affirming care to their patients and families. Together, we will continue to advocate for transgender and gender diverse youth and their families.

At Connecticut Children’s, we strive to make our organization as welcoming and inclusive as possible for our team members, our patients and their families, and our community partners. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is detailed in our organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Declaration.

Legislation that aims to restrict individual rights to medically appropriate care challenges our goal of transforming children’s health and well-being as one team. Upholding our core values of respectful, family-centered care is even more critical now that the rights to gender-affirming care and protection of transgender and gender diverse youth are in danger nationally.

Across the country, legislation is banning access to gender-affirming care, further disenfranchising LGBTQIA youth:

  • LGBTQIA youth experience high rates of bullying, violence, housing instability, depression, substance misuse, and suicidality; rates of these issues are even worse for LGBTQIA youth of color. (Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2020)
  • 85% of transgender and non-binary youth said their mental health is negatively affected by anti-trans laws that criminalize helping a transgender child obtain medically necessary care. (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • Anti-trans laws have led some children’s hospitals to remove information about gender-affirming care from their websites, further limiting transgender kids’ and teens’ ability to find potentially life-saving information and care. (STAT, 2022)

Research shows that access to gender-affirming care can significantly improve mental health outcomes in transgender and gender diverse youth:

  • Transgender youth who choose a name different from the one given to them at birth experience improved mental health outcomes when their chosen name is used in affirming contexts. (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2018)
  • Within the first year of receiving gender-affirming care interventions, transgender youth experience 60% lower odds of depressive symptoms and 73% lower odds of self-harm and suicidal ideation. (JAMA Network, 2022)
  • Attempted suicides decline when transgender youth have their pronouns respected, are able to change their name and/or gender marker on legal documents, and have access to spaces that affirm their gender identity. (The Trevor Project, 2021)

Ways to show support and make a difference:

In the workplace:

Supporting LGBTQIA youth and teens:

To learn about other ways Connecticut Children’s supports the LGBTQIA community, click here: 5 Ways Connecticut Children’s Supports LGBTQIA Patients and Families.


This statement was informed by team members of various positions and backgrounds across Connecticut Children’s and endorsed by the OCCH Equity Committee, with special thanks to:

  • Susie DiVietro, PhD, Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center
  • Lauren Dominique, MA, Office for Community Child Health
  • Debra Dudack, Connecticut Children’s Marketing and Communications Department
  • Amy Hunter, PhD, MPH, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • Priya Phulwani, MD, Connecticut Children’s Gender Program
  • Morgan Reiss, LMSW, Connecticut Children’s Help Me Grow National Center
  • Melissa Santos, PhD, Connecticut Children’s Division of Pediatric Psychology