Since it was founded in 1996, the Academy for Professional Excellence has been committed to creating an inclusive environment where the sharing of perspectives, ideas, and experiences from our internal and external stakeholders is welcomed.
As we partner with health and human services agencies, we have a responsibility to embrace the various ways diversity strengthens our programs, our workforce and our communities. However, we recognize that it is not enough to strive for inclusion and diversity, but we must also be committed to achieving racial equity for all of our stakeholders.
We have witnessed the impacts that systemic racism, xenophobia, and other systems of oppression have on our staff and our communities, and we are committed to becoming an anti-racist, trauma-informed, and recovery-oriented organization.
How we are advancing this work
The Academy is working to identify concrete ways to operationalize our core value of Diversity in our policies and procedures, in our interactions with one another, and in our work with our partners and communities.
We are incorporating a number of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives to work toward achieving this goal, including but not limited to the following:
- Ensuring that our commitment is demonstrated in our Core Value practice behaviors
- Performing an Academy-wide review of all policies which might negatively impact, or fail to protect, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as other minoritized groups
- Integrating diverse workforce hiring best practices and recruiting a diverse workforce
- Providing anti-racism / anti-oppression staff development opportunities for all staff, beginning with onboarding
- Participating in the National Council for Behavioral Health‘s 2020-2021 Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Oriented (TIROC) Equity Call to Action Community of Practice to receive training and coaching to address historical and end contemporary racial inequities
- Working to create more space and opportunity for the many unique perspectives of the members of our team to be shared and discussed
- Using data from our equity climate assessment to identify areas to be prioritized for action
- Continuing to empower our Diversity Committee through which staff can work to foster safety, inclusivity, and respect for all staff and those who are impacted by our services
What being Trauma-Informed, Recovery-Oriented means to us
It means that we are working to be an Inclusive, Responsive and Respectful organization that is geared toward building a healthy community (both with internal & external stakeholders).
We are shifting our organizational culture to realize the widespread impact of trauma, to understand the potential path for recovery from trauma, and to identify programs and best practices that have been proven to build resiliency for those we serve and for our staff.
We are gaining the knowledge and skills that we need to have open and honest conversations, and to discuss how to incorporate input from those receiving services provided by the Academy.
We are also adjusting who is included in our conversations to ensure all voices are heard. This means that the outcome of our actions will be enhanced because the work will have been informed by many voices who have had the opportunity to contribute throughout the process.
Who will be impacted by this initiative
This initiative impacts our internal and external stakeholders and our communities at large. Internally, we have created a Core Implementation Team composed of an equitable representation of all Academy programs and divisions pulled from all levels of the organization.
In the coming months, we are going to be inviting members of our external stakeholder community who are interested and available to participate in this process to ensure the services we are providing, and the way we go about delivering them, are grounded in anti-racist, trauma-informed, recovery-oriented practices. If you know of anyone who may be interested in partnering with us on this front, please reach out to us.
Our commitment to this work is not time-limited, but rather ongoing and part of a broader change management process. We commit to you that we will lead this effort in an inclusive manner, informed by input from all members of our Academy for Professional Excellence community and from our stakeholders so that we can get it right most of the time.