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.
Individuals and families who are impacted by vestibular disorders are part of a marginalized group, meaning they are sidelined from a healthcare system that is not yet optimized for their position, leaving them at a medical disadvantage. There are urgent needs for treatment, research, and improved diagnostics, as the average diagnostic journey lasts several years with multiple misdiagnoses during that time.
There are many groups who have been excluded and oppressed through systems and practices historically that still persist and exist today. Dismantling these barriers requires a collective effort working to liberate those who face ongoing marginalization.
To this end, we have convened a volunteer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to identify gaps in our practices and brainstorm creative solutions, such as partnering with community organizations to provide information to people who are struggling with vestibular dysfunction but are unaware of the services available to them. We have a road map, but we also recognize that we have more to learn. Our goal is to listen to our community and continue to improve our practices to make our services accessible to all. We invite you to explore our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy. Feedback is welcome. If you’d like to get involved, please consider becoming a volunteer.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) for their helpful resources on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion planning for health-related nonprofits.