Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | American Cancer Society
Kathleen Goss, Ph.D., Vice President for Regional Cancer Control, American Cancer Society
The population isn’t made up of just one kind of person, and more and more companies understand that the workforce needs to reflect and mirror the population. Kathleen Goss, Ph.D., Vice President for Regional Cancer Control for the American Cancer Society, shares about how the organization continuously works toward this goal.
What types of programming and outreach does your DEI team do?
Our DEI team, led by Tawana Thomas Johnson, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, has designed and implemented robust DEI strategies at both the national, enterprise-wide level as well as at the local, field level.
Our DEI program provides extensive training and education for staff to expand cultural awareness and encourage authentic dialogue about inclusion. Managers receive training to address unconscious bias and how to model positive, inclusive behaviors, and several active Employee Engagement Groups reinforce and support multicultural engagement. A new digital training toolkit ensures staff understand the causes of disparities and are best equipped for their mission-focused work.
For our local staff here in Kentucky, we have implemented additional tools to incorporate DEI into everything they do and provide a welcoming environment for them to learn from one another and develop best practices. I’m also excited about a new platform called HERO — Health Equity for Research and Operations — that we’ve launched to engage donors, health systems, and community/corporate partners. This has helped our staff and other stakeholders better understand the impact of the health equity work in which we have engaged for more than 20 years.
How have DEI initiatives enhanced your workplace and overall success?
These DEI efforts are transforming our workplace for the better – namely the way we work, how we represent the communities we serve, and how we best address barriers to health equity. This work has improved our business by providing staff and volunteers the tools to better understand, deliver, and articulate our mission. While this is important progress, we also recognize that sustained change requires a long-term commitment and continued refinement.
What short and long-term goals do you have for your DEI program?
Some of our short-term DEI goals include gains in cultural awareness, creation of a more inclusive organizational culture, incorporation of DEI goals into individual workplans for staff, and increased diversity of staff and volunteer teams/leadership. More long-term DEI objectives are those focused on eliminating cancer disparities and addressing barriers in access to cancer care.
What impact do you hope your program has on the city?
We are committed to addressing cancer disparities in Louisville, and our DEI program is an important step to ensuring everyone has a fair shot in the cancer fight.
For example, breast cancer mortality is highest in women of color, and they are more frequently diagnosed with the aggressive triple-negative subtype of breast cancer. Our largest event in Kentucky and the largest cancer survivor celebration in Louisville is Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. This event is a key way for us to translate our DEI efforts to tackling breast cancer inequities locally — raising both awareness and critical funds. There is no fee to participate, so we look forward to safely welcoming everyone on October 16 to Cardinal Stadium to make strides together.