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The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network is a partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin supporting a shared mission of patient care, innovation, medical research and education. Operating eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center and adult Level I Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, the health network is an internationally recognized training and research center engaged in thousands of clinical trials and studies. The Froedtert & MCW health network, which includes eight hospital locations, nearly 2,000 physicians and more than 45 health centers and clinics, draws patients from throughout the Midwest and the nation. During the most recent fiscal year, outpatient visits exceeded 1.2 million, inpatient hospital admissions were 52,807 and visits to network physicians totaled 947,136.

Froedtert Health is committed to disability inclusion in the workplace, marketplace and supply chain as part of the organization’s overall equity, diversity and inclusion strategy and key efforts. Named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion for the second year in a row, Froedtert Health earned a top score on the 2020 Disability Equality Index® (DEI) for outstanding commitment to disability inclusion practices. The DEI assessment measures an organization’s culture and leadership, accessibility, employment practices (including benefits, education and accommodations), community engagement and supplier diversity. Froedtert Health was one of the inaugural employers when Disability IN Wisconsin was created with financial support and assistance. Heidi Moore, director of Diversity and Inclusion at Froedtert Health, was instrumental in leading that effort. Additionally, Juan Banda, director of Human Resources for Froedtert Health, serves on the affiliate board of directors for Disability IN Wisconsin.

“Ultimately, the importance and responsibility of equity, diversity and inclusion starts with my office and cascades across the organization,” says Andres Gonzalez, vice president and chief diversity officer for Froedtert Health. Driven by a Diversity Council, led by top Froedtert Health executives, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts are supported by Diversity Action Teams (DATs). DATs specialize in two areas – exceptional care focuses on patient care while extraordinary people focuses on staff. Employee-led Business Resource Groups (BRGs) execute initiatives and deliver tactics around equity, diversity and inclusion to all aspects of the organization. Froedtert Health is proudly supported by five highly engaged BRGs:

  • Black/African American BRG
  • Military/Veterans BRG
  • Latinx BRG
  • Women in Leadership BRG

BRGs benefit the organization by improving staff engagement, offering opportunities for leadership development, increasing workforce retention, enhancing recruitment efforts, providing insight into customer/patient needs, strengthening connections to community and supporting diversity initiatives for an inclusive workplace.

Disability inclusion at Froedtert Health is best highlighted through our partnership with Project SEARCH and formerly Easterseals. Project SEARCH is a national program enabling young adults with disabilities to learn about, gain and maintain employment through career exploration, mentoring and training. Over the last several years, 67 interns have rotated through 30 operational areas, clinical and non-clinical, at Froedtert Hospital and Froedtert West Bend Hospital. The end goal is participating organizations hiring interns as employees. To date, while the number continues to change, 10 Project SEARCH interns are staff members at Froedtert Health – some of which are graduates of other Project SEARCH programs. Annually, hospital leaders and peer support staff spend about 2,000 hours providing leadership, mentoring and oversight of the Project SEARCH program at Froedtert Health.

Equity, diversity and inclusion is embedded in all areas of the organization. Working closely with Human Resources, staff recruitment, retention and engagement is key in creating a culture of dignity and respect in the workplace. From delivering culturally and linguistically competent care for all to achieving impressive supplier diversity metrics, Froedtert Health values and celebrates the wealth of diversity reflected in patients, their families, staff members, and the communities served.