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Pride Month 2024

During Pride Month in June, LGBTQ+ people and allies around the world come together to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and recognize the long history of those who have advocated for equal rights for all. At Compass One Healthcare, our Diversity Inclusion Action Council (DIAC) Inclusion Ambassadors are embodying these same values every day, especially during Pride Month. 

Morrison Healthcare and Crothall Healthcare united in 2016 to create the Compass One Healthcare DIAC. The DIAC is led by co-chairs Holly Blunkall and Shannon McFarland, who both selflessly give their time to ensure the DIAC is always growing and supporting our teams. Together, they and a team of 114 Inclusion Ambassadors play a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion within our organization. Through facilitating diversity moments during meetings, communicating and sharing information from the DIAC to our hospital teams, encouraging engagement with DIAC activities, and providing them with feedback, the Inclusion Ambassadors contribute greatly to our organization’s culture. As Shannon puts it, “they help foster an inclusive work culture where everyone can be their true selves.”   

With the role Inclusion Ambassadors hold, they are the perfect people to speak on the importance of inclusivity and celebration during Pride Month. Hope you enjoy!  

Why did you decide to become an Inclusion Ambassador?  

Jason Watts (Director at Gadsden Regional Medical Center)I signed up in November 2020. The world felt out of balance for me, and it seemed like we were heading to a place where exclusion was going to become the way of thinking for a lot of people. I spoke with my Regional Director of Operations and he got in touch with me about joining.

Keith Densmore (Systems Patient Experience Manager at Providence St. John’s): As a recently open LGBTQ+ African American male, I have experienced the lack of representation. This realization motivated me to be a catalyst for change. I am passionate about moving the culture forward and fostering a more inclusive workplace where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued and respected.  

Anastacia Shkan (Traveling FNS Director – Wyatt Region): When I learned about what the DIAC did and how empowering it is, I knew I wanted to be a part of that immediately. I jumped at the opportunity when the volunteer list was opened. Inclusion Ambassador Megan Henderson encouraged proud LGBTQ+ community member.

Aisha Boston (Director – Atrium Health Union): Inclusion Ambassador Megan Henderson encouraged proud LGBTQ+ community member, to share her perspective as an advocate for diversityAt Atrium Health Unionwe actively support LGBTQ+ team members and promote a culture of inclusion. I believe in creating a supportive and welcoming workplace and hospital environment for everyone. For us this extends well beyond Pride Month and something we promote throughout our system daily!


What is the importance of celebrating Pride Month, and what does it mean to you? 

JasonFor a long time, I didnt celebrate Pride Month. At my previous workplaces, never felt comfortable enough to share that part of my life out of fear of what might be said or how it might affect my job. When my partner and I, who have been together since 2009,relocated with Compass Group to Gadsden, AL, I didn't want to keep him or our relationship a secret because I wanted us to be able to feel comfortable living in a new city. The client who hired me was very accepting and the person I reported to met my husband on several occasions, helped me bring in more LGBTQ+ members to my teamand was an ally in his life for others.  

Keith: Pride Month symbolizes freedom - the freedom to be authentically yourself without fear of bias, judgment, or insecurity. It is a time to embrace and celebrate the diversity of our community, to stand up for equality, and to promote acceptance and understanding. Pride Month serves as a reminder that everyone deserves to love and be loved without restrictions. By celebrating Pride Month, we not only recognize the progress that has been made, but also reaffirm our commitment to creating a more inclusive and accepting society for everyone. 

Anastacia: Celebrating Pride Month to me means celebrating everyone who can show up as themselvesI love being able to be a cheerleader for everyone! A whole month of history and overcoming obstacles and regaining basic human rights for simply existing deserves to be celebrated. 

Aisha: Pride Month recognizes and honors the LGBTQ+ community's history, struggles, and achievements in the fight for equality and acceptance. For me, Pride Month is a reminder of our ongoing journey towards equality and acceptance for all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It's about celebrating love, acceptance, and diversity in all its forms, and advocating for a world where everyone can live authentically and without fear of discrimination or prejudice. 


How do you, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or as an ally, show your support for your team members in the workplace/hospital? 

Jason: have an open-door policy and do my best to provide encouragement to other LGBTQ+ people who work for usAt one time I was told by my client that my department had the most diverse staff in the hospital, and he looked at that as an advantage to show the value of diversity in the workplace. I try to be an easy ear and help show people to be themselves. If people truly love you for you, then nothing should stand in your way. Thankfully this hospital has proven to be an incredibly safe space for LGBTQ+ members. 

Keith: I actively participate in the hospital's diversity and inclusion initiatives and make it a priority to support those who may feel unseen or unheard in the hospital environment. Moreover, I strive to show up every day as my authentic self; I hope to inspire others to do the same and create a space where individuals feel comfortable expressing themselvesWhether through lending a listening ear, offering encouragement, or advocating for inclusive practices, I am committed to standing in solidarity with my colleagues and patients alike. I believe, as one of my favorite quotes says, “your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” 

Anastacia: I show up as an ally by being present to listen and not problem solve. I don't get to dictate how somebody else is feeling, but I can check my own feelings and make sure to support them. I've lived a very fortunate life of being able to always express who I am, so if I can provide space for anyone to feel comfortable as who they truly are, I want to be able to give that to them. As LGBTQ+ figure RuPaul said, “negativity is basically laziness. It takes a lot of hard work to remain positive, but positivity always pays off. 

AishaAs a leader, my goal is to promote inclusivity and belonging throughout my team and within my organization. I live the values I believe in, and I bring my authentic self to work; I want the same for my teammates. I support my team by encouraging open and honest communication among teammates, advocating for inclusive policies and practices in the workplace (such as non-discrimination policies and inclusive healthcare benefits), and being a supportive listener and offering resources to LGBTQ+ team members who may be facing challenges. I aim to create a safe place for discussions about diversity, inclusion, and LGBTQ+ issues. I want to know what’s going well as much as I want to know what’s not. All voices need to be heard.  



Written By: Nydia Rivera
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