Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership – On Health Equity and Racism

CHOOSE to see and CHOOSE to hear and CHOOSE to open our hearts

The murder of George Floyd forced white Americans to open their eyes and ears to see and hear the lived experience of people of color across 2020 America. Some of us have paid enough attention before this tragedy or the long list of similar tragedies that have come before.

The task before us now is for white Americans to

CHOOSE to see


CHOOSE to hear


CHOOSE to act, open our hearts, raise our collective voices, and support the national, regional and local efforts to end structural racism.

We cannot unsee what we saw.

We cannot unhear what we heard.

We can only live up to our American ideals so eloquently written in our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Founded to carry out the values of Dr. Dan Hanley, we at the Hanley Center have been and continue to be committed to the important work of improving the healthcare and lives of people of color impacted by systemic racism and the resulting disadvantages.

Mr. Floyd’s death reinforced our resolve to be part of the solution.

A few of our Hanley Center values, Dr. Dan’s values, seem more important and timelier than ever before.

Collaboration. True collaboration is hard. True collaboration depends on trusting relationships built over time. Our communities will need to jumpstart the processes, convenings and toil of finding common ground, common goals and joined hearts to truly impact the lived experience of people of color. We recommit ourselves to help lead the way within the healthcare sector by seeking out new opportunities to support health improvement in communities of color and difference.

Courage. We are inspired by the tremendous courage of the voices speaking out and taking action to make this the moment that begins to truly break down structural racism and shift hearts and minds. We will continue to do our part to support this important work by courageous community leaders.

Inclusion. The societal change necessary to move the centuries old mountain of racism will require the voices of those with lived experiences to set the tone, the pace and to lead the white privileged into a new inclusive and open-minded world. The Hanley Center will continue to build upon its health equity and implicit bias offerings and commit to diversify our own board leadership.

Hard work. Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, Americans have worked tirelessly on innovations in economics, housing, health, culture and attitude to improve the lives of racial and ethnic minorities. Countless Americans gave their lives to these efforts. Yet today George Floyd’s unimaginable murder has brought us to a societal point of no return. We must innovate. We do not have time or patience for drawn out processes and long-term goal setting strategies. Change must be swift. The work to garner the buy-in of white Americans whose minds have not yet changed and whose hearts remain ignorant and closed is the innovation we need more than anything. The Hanley Center commits to leading discussions within the healthcare community that lead people to understand their own biases and change behaviors to improve the health of people of color.

Kindness. Perhaps the simplest of all. The Hanley Center routinely sees how the kindness and compassion make enormous positive differences in patient outcomes and experience. The same holds true outside of healthcare. We can ALL be kind to one another and show extra kindness to those we know have been wrongly treated or beaten down. Simple small acts of kindness, acknowledging our own failures to take actions for injustice, and sharing our intent to start doing so now, is one act of kindness that, collectively, will go a long way.

Please be kind. Please be curious. Please listen and learn. If you’re in a position of leadership, please lead with compassion and check in on your own implicit biases. And please raise your voice and take peaceful action.

At the Hanley Center, we don’t have all the answers. We know there is much left for us to learn and we will continue to seek better understanding and apply what we learn to actions that can help improve the lives of people of color.