Letter to Seattle Children’s Community Regarding Covington & Burling’s Assessment Report
Letter to Seattle Children’s Community from Susan Betcher, Hospital Board of Trustees Chair
In line with the Assessment Committee’s recommendations and our community’s requests, the Seattle Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees voted unanimously to release Covington’s 11 Finding Statements. The Board also voted to release Covington’s detailed recommendations, which will be used as a roadmap to guide the action plan being developed by Seattle Children’s Task Force by September 1st.
We made this decision after hearing from the workforce, patient families and the community that we had not met our original objective of transparency. From a place of great humility, we thank everyone who spoke up. We heard from many of you that our initial adoption and release of the Summary of Recommendations did not provide the clarity you expected and instead added to the pain our community is feeling/experiencing. For that, we profoundly apologize.
When the Board created an Assessment Committee tasked with hiring an outside expert to review the organization’s efforts to combat racism and promote equity, diversity and inclusion, we promised the review would be independent and rigorous. We are grateful to the Assessment Committee for the exceptional work they have done to identify where Seattle Children’s is falling short of being the antiracist, equitable, diverse and inclusive organization that we aspire to be.
Covington’s recommendations and finding statements offer a clear roadmap for Seattle Children’s to move forward, and we are resolved to do so with urgency. Today, Seattle Children’s is also announcing members of an internal Task Force charged with creating an action plan to address Covington’s recommendations and findings. We thank the Task Force leaders for their contributions and dedication to this work.
As you read Covington’s recommendations and finding statements, you will see that Seattle Children’s and the Board have much work to do. We resolve to engage in this work with transparency, urgency and accountability.
The action plan created by the Task Force and leadership will be made public – with timelines and accountable outcome metrics. The Board will regularly monitor progress and hold our CEO and leadership accountable for executing the plan. We take responsibility for failing to address racial disparities in health equity and workforce equity with greater urgency, and we steadfastly reaffirm Seattle Children’s commitment to becoming an antiracist organization.
To further ensure the action plan addresses the report’s recommendations, the Board and leadership have asked Covington to come back and assess Seattle Children’s progress against the action plan, and report that progress to our community. We commit to all these actions to honor the trust our community has placed in Seattle Children’s.
Our mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. The work identified by Covington and overseen by the Assessment Committee is critical to that mission.
Thank you to our workforce, to our patients and families, and to our community for engaging with us in this work. We are truly better together.
With humility, gratitude, and resolve,
Chair, Seattle Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees
About Seattle Children’s
Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation deliver superior patient care, identify new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients.
Ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. As one of the nation’s top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is internationally recognized for its work in neurosciences, immunology, cancer, infectious disease, injury prevention and much more. Seattle Children’s Foundation, along with Seattle Children’s Guild Association – the largest all volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country – works with our generous community to raise funds for lifesaving care and research.