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A Message From Seattle Children’s

May 24, 2023

Seattle Children’s is proud to share the fifth Health Equity and Anti-Racism (HEAR) Action Plan update. With completion of Phase 1 of the HEAR Action Plan in March 2023, we are sharing progress made toward Seattle Children’s becoming an anti-racist organization and what remains to be accomplished as we move into Phase 2. 

As previously announced in June 2022, Seattle Children’s CEO, Dr. Jeff Sperring, invited Covington & Burling to conduct a thorough and objective review of Seattle Children’s progress implementing the Action Plan’s recommendations during Phase 1. Previously, in 2021, an independent assessment committee formed by the Seattle Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees engaged Covington to evaluate the organization’s efforts to combat systemic racism and promote equity, diversity and inclusion.

Seattle Children’s is pleased to report that Covington’s review, which began last fall, is complete and the full results are available as part of this HEAR Action Plan update. Covington's review confirms that Seattle Children's has successfully delivered on several commitments for initiatives outlined in Phase 1 and is already making significant progress on those outlined in phases 2 and 3. The review also calls out the resources Seattle Children’s has allocated to these efforts, reflecting the organization’s substantial commitment to this ongoing work.

As expected, there is additional work to do and areas for improvement. These include sustaining Seattle Children’s focus on workforce engagement for HEAR Action Plan commitments and increasing racial and ethnic diversity among nursing staff and leaders to reflect the patients and families we serve.

Covington’s findings are encouraging, as Seattle Children’s enters this next phase of the HEAR Action Plan. We are grateful for the progress we’ve made together and confident as we move forward and reaffirm Seattle Children’s ongoing commitment to this work.

Seattle Children’s is a leader in the pediatric healthcare industry in implementing more equitable and anti-racist policies while acknowledging the work still ahead. Phase 2 is a continuation and deepening of this work. For example: 

  • Thanks to tremendous collaboration with workforce members, community partners, leadership and the HEAR Council, Adaptive Social Response launched, replacing Code Purple. We are grateful to the many Adaptive Social Response contributors and are proud of the culture shift underway. We also remain committed to ensuring the new system is equitable, without continued disparities. 
  • With great intentionality, Seattle Children’s values-based behaviors and leadership qualities were revised. The updates more deeply embed anti-racism, and there is further work to incorporate the changes into future performance evaluations to hold each of us accountable to these anti-racist behaviors. 
  • Workforce diversity continues to increase. Still, for some populations, there remains underrepresentation between our workforce and patient populations, requiring ongoing efforts to close the gap.
  • The Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) has deployed a holistic approach to its care model to increase access and provide the best care experience for patients and families and has implemented practices to improve care for patients with sickle cell disease. OBCC also launched its Governance Council, helping to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion priorities. Additionally, Seattle Children’s will continue to support efforts and implement initiatives that build trust with the patients and families, workforce members and communities OBCC serves.

For more, we are sharing a new infographic format that shows our anti-racist commitment through highlighted actions and progress. The update is a blend of data and stories, grounded in the fact that the everyday impact is on real people – our patients, families, workforce and community members.

Seattle Children’s appreciates your ongoing support as we continue this important work.


Seattle Children’s Executive Leadership Team