Oakwood celebrates diversity with Martin Luther King Day event

Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. (OHI) has long recognized the value of diversity in its work force as well as the communities it serves.

Diversity is one of the core values of the healthcare organization of nearly 10,000 employees that provides service to 35 communities throughout a 500-square-mile area. It was also the common theme of the celebration that took place Monday morning in honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. The Day of Diversity Celebration took place at the Nasir Auditorium at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center (OSMC) in Trenton, and was broadcast live to the three other acute-care hospitals as well as the corporate services building in Dearborn.

“I am proud to be a part of an organization that welcomes all who come through our door without regard to their race, background or ability to pay for service,” said Brian Connolly, President & CEO of OHI.

“Our staff reflects the great diversity of lifestyle and background of the communities we serve,” he added.

Sister Mary Ellen Howard, RSM, Executive Director of the St. Frances Cabrini Clinic, was the keynote speaker of the event. The Cabrini Clinic is the oldest free clinic in the nation; it provides everything from primary medical care, to prescription assistance, mental health counseling and home health care supplies to uninsured patients. Calling access to health care a basic human right, Howard said providing that service was part of building the Beloved Community that Dr. King advocated for.

“I may not be able to wipe out racism and poverty in the world—that’s a bit overwhelming—but I can help the person right in front of me,” she said. “That’s how we change the world: one person at a time.”

The Rev. Tony Marshall, staff chaplain coordinator at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center (OHMC) in Dearborn, also talked about the need to work together to overcome the issues facing society.

“With unity, things that are impossible become possible,” said Marshall. “Let’s not make this only a day of service, but a year of service and see what we can accomplish.”

CUTLINES: Kevin Dewey (above) directs the Henry Ford Community College Concert Choir during the Day of Diversity Celebration at Oakwood Healthcare. The event took place at the Oakwood Southshore Medical Center (OSMC) but was broadcast live to all major Oakwood employee sites. (Below) Edith Hughes, (left)division president of Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. presents  keynote speaker Sister Mary Ellen Howard with a framed picture of Dr. Martin Luther King for participating in the celebration of Dr. King and his legacy.