Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—Equity Leader of His Time

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On the third Monday of each January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed nationwide. This is a day to remember a great American leader and an opportunity to commit to his dream to end racism in all forms.

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death," said Dr. King in response to the segregation and serious health consequences that the Black population was experiencing at many of our nation’s healthcare facilities. Many of those same ideologies of racial superiority and inferiority prevalent in Dr. King’s day still exist today, but now display as health disparities set along racial lines.

Dr. King’s efforts centered on non-violent protest and other civil demonstrations that squarely focused on fighting against injustice in this country and standing up for equality, or the opportunity for equal outcomes. That last statement, “the opportunity for equal outcomes,” can essentially serve as a definition for equity and today’s equity work.

Here at Overlake, we are aligned with Dr. King’s vision of equality and equal outcomes. We have embarked on a “Journey toward Inclusion,” where health equity is one of our principal goals. Specifically, “To provide every patient with personalized care that best serves their individual needs to maintain and improve their overall quality of life,” is how Overlake has described health equity in our recently completed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Within this plan, we lay out strategies and steps on how we can achieve, or at least move toward, health equity.

Overlake is committed to this equity work as we aspire to be true to our mission of providing Compassionate care for every life we touch. We embrace this opportunity to become a leader in health equity and to do our part to dismantle systemic and institutional racism in healthcare.

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