For the last couple years, there's been a lot of chatter in healthcare -- and its marketing and brand journalism groups -- about representation, language and de-centering white people. To quote Lizzo, "it's about damn time".

I read two articles this week that cover these topics well and I want to share them here. While they're centered on healthcare, there are applications in almost any vertical or industry.

More responsible brand journalism

First is public health and data reporter Erica Hensley's excellent essay in Scalawag showcasing how she's de-centering her approach by co-reporting with people in the communities she's covering. We can and should do the same thing as brand journalists. It'll take some coaching with my clients, perhaps (or maybe even probably), but I'm committed to trying. You with me?

“Co-reporting with the very person featured in a story, unfortunately, is a novel concept in journalism. …we, as an industry and in that moment as editorial decision-makers, had to do more to center more Black people.”

Erica Hensley, writing in Scalawag

More inclusive wording

Another thing we've got to work on is how we talk to and about patients and their families. People-first language and empathy are the words of the moment -- and rightfully so. In HBR, Southeast Permanente Medical Group President and Executive Medical Director Nkem Chukwumerije explains how bias -- and biased language -- negatively impact people's health and wellbeing. We've been working on this a while here at the office, but reading this showed me we can do more. You in?

As we understand and address the inequities, structural racism, and injustices experienced by marginalized populations we serve, health equity has become a watchword of modern health care. With that comes a commitment to providing equitable — as well as high-quality and accessible — health care, and a responsibility to choose our words carefully when communicating with our patients. In doing so, we take giant steps toward helping, rather than harming, them.

Nkem Chukwumerije, MD, writing in Harvard Business Review
Click here to read the article.

Evolving the way we work is vital to having a more just and accountable world. I don't have the answers, but I'm trying new things and interested in learning new approaches. Email me if you'd like to talk.