Statement of Intent
The Vestibular Disorders Association (VeDA) strives to create an inclusive community where everyone feels valued, represented, and respected. We recognize that our community is diverse and so are the needs and aspirations of the people we serve. Practicing understanding and acceptance and embracing diversity will help us plan and deliver programs and services that are relevant, meaningful, and effective in a way that thoughtfully engages and includes individuals and communities who may have been historically excluded. Through refining and piloting this policy in our work, we commit to:
- Take positive steps to remove systemic barriers and promote inclusion;
- Achieve improved satisfaction of our work and services;
- Create a more positive and respectful work and volunteer environment; and
- Generate better solutions by incorporating diverse perspectives.
To create and retain a diverse team of staff and volunteers who represent the community we serve, and to increase our impact by building a welcoming and accessible environment for all who utilize or wish to utilize our services.
This strategy provides a shared direction and commitment for the organization so we can work together to respect and value our diverse staff, volunteers and community members, build a more inclusive community, and provide services that are equitable and accessible.
- Workforce diversity & inclusion – Recruit from a diverse, qualified group of candidates to increase diversity of thinking and perspective. Foster a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness to enable all employees and volunteers to contribute to their potential.
- Accessibility – Ensure that our services are accessible to a diverse community through appropriate outreach. Marketing and communications materials and strategies should be inclusive, allowing all community members to feel represented and welcomed, and distributed through appropriate channels.
- Sustainability and accountability – Identify and break down systemic barriers to full inclusion by embedding diversity and inclusion in policies and practices and equipping leaders with the ability to recognize barriers and create effective solutions.
|Diversity||A wide range of qualities and attributes within a person, group, or community. When we celebrate diversity, communities and workplaces become richer, drawing upon the variety of experiences, perspectives, and skills that people can contribute.|
|Equity||The fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and equality of access to information and resources for all. The aim of equity is to ensure that everyone has access to equal results and benefits.|
|Inclusion||The behaviors and actions that create a culture of belonging and a sense of value for all who participate and contribute, while at the same time understanding no one person can or should be asked to represent their entire community.|
|Unconscious/Implicit Bias||Social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness, which can lead to negative judgements and unfair treatment.|
|Assumptions||Something we presuppose or take for granted without questioning it. We accept these beliefs to be true and use them to interpret the world around us.|
|Privilege||The experience of unearned freedoms, rights, benefits, advantages, access, and/or opportunities afforded to members of a particular dominant group in society or in a specific context.|
|Marginalized||Communities excluded from mainstream social, economic, educational or cultural life, often due to race, gender, identity, physical ability, sexual orientation, language barriers, age, or other status.|
We will listen.
We will always be learning.
We will make mistakes and own responsibility for our corrective action.
Goal 1: Workforce Diversity and Inclusion
Recruit from a diverse, qualified group of candidates to increase diversity of thinking and perspective. Foster a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness to enable all employees and volunteers to contribute to their potential.
- Recruit staff, board members, and volunteers that represent our community.
- Create diverse teams with individuals who are empowered and encouraged to contribute their unique perspectives.
- Advertise staff positions on multiple platforms that reach diverse audiences.
- Recruit board members from varied backgrounds and experiences with the goal of increasing the diversity of perspectives and representation.
- Provide ongoing diversity and equity training for staff and board members.
- Recruit volunteers from a broad range of cultural backgrounds, perspectives, and belief systems to bring diverse ideas, and review content and policies through the lens of inclusivity and equality.
Measures of Success
- Increase in the representation of diverse employees, volunteers, and board members.
- Staff and board members participate in at least one training that informs their equity and inclusion lens each year.
- Employees and volunteers report satisfaction with the opportunities presented to them, and fairness in accommodations made available to them.
Goal 2: Accessibility
Ensure that our services are accessible to a diverse community through appropriate outreach. Marketing and communications materials and strategies should be inclusive, allowing all community members to feel represented and welcomed, and distributed through culturally appropriate channels.
- Identify barriers to accessing VeDA’s programs and services, and implement actions that reduce or eliminate those barriers.
- Effectively use technology to increase access to patient educational and support resources.
- Build an inclusive community by creating a safe space for diverse perspectives.
- Include stories highlighting the diversity in our community, inclusive of the broad variety of perspectives and voices of people with vestibular symptoms.
- Translate articles into several languages to grow our community beyond the English-speaking population.
- Write/edit publications so they are accessible to people with a basic reading level.
- Provide captioning to make videos accessible to people with hearing loss.
- Design graphics, webpages, and other publications that do not include images that can be visually triggering.
Measures of Success
- Community members feel represented in VeDA’s storytelling.
- At least 10 articles are translated into at least two languages other than English in year one.
- Annual conference contains live captioned videos and written transcripts.
Goal 2: Sustainability & Accountability
Identify and break down systemic barriers to full inclusion by embedding diversity and inclusion in policies and practices and equipping leaders with the ability to recognize barriers and create effective solutions.
- Use active listening to understand the needs of our community.
- Act with transparency by acknowledging what we know and don’t know, admitting our mistakes, and sharing our process and progress.
- Create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee made up of at least one member of each group: staff, board of directors, and volunteers.
- Review policies and practices to identify and remove systemic barriers to inclusion annually.
- Provide at least annual reports that document DEI efforts to the Board of Directors, donors, and community members.
Measures of Success
- DEI Committee is formed and meets at least 2x/year.
- DEI policies and practices are created and reviewed annually.
- Annual report includes a report on DEI policies and steps toward inclusivity.
Roles and Responsibilities:
All employees and volunteers have the responsibility to maintain an environment that is safe, respectful, and productive.
Everyone has the right to be treated fairly in an environment that recognizes and accepts diversity.
We can all contribute by participating in diversity and inclusion activities and complying with all anti-discrimination and diversity legislation.
Staff and volunteers can contribute by displaying a positive commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion, being role models, fostering an inclusive culture, dealing quickly and effectively with inappropriate behavior, and participating in diversity training and encouraging team members to attend.
The success of the strategy is dependent upon the support of everyone in the organization. Everyone has a responsibility for contributing to a culture which supports and values diversity and inclusion.
The effectiveness and achievement of VeDA’s goals for diversity and inclusion will be reviewed and reported on an annual basis. The review will focus on strategy, proposed actions, progress made, and successes. It will also identify any adjustments required to improve effectiveness.
The evaluation will include:
- A qualitative assessment of progress or achievement of the actions.
- A qualitative assessment of the impact of the strategy on employee and volunteer perceptions and experience of the organization’s culture.
- Metrics, such as change in the composition of employee, board, and volunteer diversity.
- Next steps and future goals.
Developed April 2022
Reviewed: May 2022
Adopted: June 2022