The imperative America and its healthcare industry have historically neglected and marginalized people who struggle with alcohol and other drug use. When the Hazelden Foundation and later the Betty Ford Center—now combined as the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation—emerged in the second half of the 20th century to pioneer an addiction treatment field offering dignity and respect to this stigmatized population, we did so outside the context of healthcare amid a lack of public compassion for, knowledge of, or patience for "alcoholics" and "addicts." From the beginning, we were a voice for underserved, marginalized people. At the same time, our own cultural frame of reference was limited and, as a result, our advocacy was for a narrow demographic of the total population affected by addiction. Today, that's a very humbling admission that we accept. Racial issues have always been present in America's drug- and addiction-related attitudes, policies and responses. Historian William White writes: "The second alcohol was introduced within the contact between Europeans and Native Americans, race, culture and class became an inflammatory element within the history of American alcohol and other drug use and related policies." From anti-opioid campaigns that targeted Chinese immigrants in the late 19th Century, to the modern War on Drugs that has disproportionately harmed people of color, to the current opioid epidemic that seems to elicit more compassion than previous drug crises because it affects white kids in the suburbs, to the still-gaping racial disparities in access to addiction care—it is clear that diversity, equity and inclusion are mission-critical for any organization seeking to reduce the negative impact of addiction. Hazelden Betty Ford recognizes we have much more work to do and many more bridges to build. Having evolved into a national system of care, now aligning with and merging into mainstream healthcare, we have an obligation to ourselves, our communities, and our industry to lift up more voices and broaden our banner. We are actively engaged in this work now and committed long-term to ensuring Hazelden Betty Ford honors, serves and advocates for people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. "We can do better, and we aspire to do better," said President and CEO Joseph Lee, MD. Our collective ability to meet the challenges of today and thrive in the future is directly connected to having a diverse workforce, an inclusive culture, a strong presence in diverse communities, and the provision of culturally responsive care. To that end, in early 2019, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation embarked on a strategic and sustainable journey for change in procedures, decision-making processes and the allocation of resources. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Vision Statement We are an inclusive organization that honors, serves and advocates for people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, reflecting and embracing differences. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Definitions Diversity embraces our individual differences across all facets of life and lived experience. Equity establishes and ensures accountability to policies and practices that give access, opportunity and advancement, while striving to identify and eliminate systemic barriers that prevent the full participation of individuals and communities that have been marginalized and underrepresented. Inclusion intentionally fosters an environment so any individual or group is and feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. What we are doing to affect long-term, sustainable change While the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has many areas of strength, our seven-decades-old organization has much work to do to truly serve all who are affected by substance use disorder and to eliminate disparities in access to treatment. The following focus areas and goals will guide our transformation to meet the challenges of today and the days ahead. Inclusive Culture Build a culturally competent organization Develop an infrastructure that creates and reinforces an inclusive culture Ensure fair and equitable treatment of everyone Diverse Workforce Increase the diversity of our workforce at all levels Recruit and retain employees from underrepresented populations Patients, Families and Students Increase the diverse customer, patient, family and student populations that we reach and serve Increase staff and student clinical cultural responsiveness Community Improve and broaden access to underrepresented communities Establish and consistently utilize a framework for employees to provide feedback on community outreach efforts and impact Drive acquisition and partnership with other health care organizations focused on improving access to quality care and resources for marginalized and underrepresented individuals and communities If you have questions about diversity, equity and inclusion at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, please reach out to us at DEI@HazeldenBettyFord.org.