Digital Exclusives

DEI Means Healthcare For Everyone, By Everyone

November 07, 2023

At the heart of HCA Healthcare’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is the belief that everyone deserves quality care, and everyone involved in delivering that care deserves a seat at the table. To that end, HCA Healthcare has established DEI leadership positions supporting all 15 divisions to shepherd the multi-faceted effort. Below spotlights four of our DEI leaders and how they are providing transformative and strategic direction across the enterprise.

Defining DEI

HCA Healthcare’s co-founder Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. is known to have stated, “Good people beget good people.” With this inspiration in mind, HCA Healthcare is proud to elevate colleagues like our division DEI leads who are fostering a culture of inclusion for all.


“To foster inclusion is to foster excellence,” says Rachel Ann Brooks, MS.E, division DEI leader, North Texas Division. “In the absence of inclusion, marginalized identities are silenced in both our communities as well as the enterprise, furthering the social and economic inequities that plague our society today.”

Collectively prioritizing DEI throughout the enterprise is foundational for establishing best practices that elevate our people and our standards of care.


“To me, inclusion is the foundation to a just and equitable society, and the catalyst for change and innovation,” she adds. “While healthcare is one critical component to an equitable society, so many other social health determinants overlap and collide with those efforts, such as socioeconomic status, access to transportation and financial constraints. We are currently in the process of identifying where exactly our efforts should be focused and are doing so through data analysis in order to develop benchmarks.”

Cultivating excellence and success, on both a corporate and community level, requires everyone’s participation.


“When done right, DEI is baked into the fabric of an organization and permeates everything we do,” says Stacy Lindley, MBA, PMP, a certified diversity professional (CDP) and division DEI leader, Gulf Coast Division. “DEI-focused efforts allow the organization to put dedicated resources towards underrepresented groups to serve our patients, support our colleagues, build our communities and engage with diverse suppliers. DEI helps everyone win.”

When done right, DEI is baked into the fabric of an organization and permeates
everything we do.

— Stacy Lindley, MBA, PMP, a certified diversity professional (CDP) and division DEI leader,

According to Jarinete Santos, MPA, CDP, division DEI leader,  East Florida Division, diversity represents the variety of experiences and identities that shape the way people show up. “This can cover everything from whether you are introverted or extroverted, what type of music you like, what languages you speak, your gender, sexual orientation, religion, and a myriad of other factors,” Jarinete says.

Equity, meanwhile, addresses the specific needs and historical barriers that individuals experience. An equitable approach makes room for various perspectives in terms of decision-making, culture building and mission fulfillment. True inclusion in the workplace promotes retention, keeps companies honest and protects against the shortcomings of groupthink.

“In my work, I feel that I’m the steward of these terms and a champion for helping us live up to these standards,” says Jarinete. “I partner with leaders and frontline staff to better understand our current state, set a plan for what an ideal future state would look like, and determine the programming and activities necessary to get us there.”

A leader's role

Jarinete relies on strong partnerships to deliver on our DEI commitments.

“I believe in building awareness, building teams, and sharing the responsibility of building a culture of belonging across the entire division,” she says. “I’m fortunate that in every area of the East Florida Division, I’m met with agreement on fulfilling this purpose which makes for wonderful partners across the organization.”

For Justin Charles Sueing, division DEI leader, Far West and Mountain divisions, transforming DEI into a way of life is the real daily work. Providing local leadership in developing, implementing and managing strategic DEI initiatives is not only a professional endeavor, but a personal one as well.

“We see and recognize, in real time, the organizational benefits that DEI brings to groups,” says Justin. “And similar to any other business function or service line, if we want to see growth we must allocate time and financial resources.”

Ensuring that equity is both a culture and a common objective requires strong leadership and a commitment on all sides.

“Advocating for DEI to be integrated into strategic sessions and illustrating the direct connection between DEI and
HCA Healthcare’s mission and values creates a shared environment conducive for mutual collaboration,” says Justin.


Every voice matters

Leveraging leadership at every level and in each facility to cascade the significance of DEI initiatives is pivotal for further success. When determining the impact of DEI efforts, an all-hands-on-deck approach keeps the momentum going.


“Our hospitals are full of world-class caregivers who are committed to providing excellent care to our patients – and this oftentimes keeps them at the bedside, or supporting those at the bedside, and away from conventional communication methods,” Justin explains. “We’ve had to get creative to ensure that our DEI messaging is not only received by our colleagues, but also our patients.”


A key element of HCA Healthcare’s DEI initiative is ensuring that every colleague understands that they have a voice, and every voice should be heard. There are many opportunities to participate in our DEI programs, and it’s important to partner with communications teams and other ambassadors to ensure everyone has a chance to contribute and participate.


“One of the most important aspects of my work is listening,” says Jarinete. “I have been hosting listening sessions at the division and facility levels, as well as with each of our Colleague Networks. We’re currently focusing on how to bring consistent professional development opportunities to those who may not see their identities reflected in leadership positions.”


Successful implementation of DEI programs provides colleagues with an environment that truly benefits everyone. For example, colleagues who participate in Colleague Networks report a five-point higher sense of belonging than colleagues who do not. Similarly, volunteer hours in Stacy’s division have increased because Colleague Networks incorporate it as a way to promote unity.


Still, change requires many hands working toward the same goal, combined with a healthy dose of patience and diligence. And HCA Healthcare’s DEI leaders are taking the long view.


“Diversity, equity and inclusion take time,” says Rachel. “It’s important to act with a sense of urgency while also celebrating small victories.”

HCA Healthcare DEI leaders

Miles Asafo-Adjei, TriStar Division


Rachel Brooks, North Texas Division


Maia Cole, Continental and Mid-America Divisions


Vyron Folds, West Florida Division | 813-402-9448

Imelda Guzman, Central & West Texas and San Antonio Divisions


Stacy Lindley, Gulf Coast Division


Jarinete Santos, East Florida Division


Justin Sueing, Far West and Mountain Divisions


Note: Division DEI Leader roles are currently being filled to oversee North Florida/South Atlantic Divisions and Capital/North Carolina Divisions