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March 13, 2006

Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunities

To: The Health Center Community

Endings bring new beginnings and as our school and fiscal operational years draw to a close, I look to keep what we are doing well and improve upon those areas where we are weak. One such area deals with how well our workforce reflects the populations we serve as well as the rich mix of people available for work from our communities.

Currently a breakdown of our workforce shows 82% White, 8% Black, 5% Asian or Native American and 5% Hispanic. Although these demographic categories are set by both the Federal and State governmental regulatory agencies, we all recognize that within these categories there are complex varieties of visible and invisible differences. However, this simple statistical breakdown highlights for me our need to build diversity within our ranks.

Often governmental agencies write statutes and regulations that spell out what are in essence best practices of doing business within the state or the nation. One such best practice deals directly with building an employee population that represents the labor market where we get the best persons to do our work of “remarkable care through education and research”. This best practice is affirmative action and equal employment opportunity.

The state of Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has issued regulations that define affirmative action and how it should be used as a tool of equal employment opportunity. As a state agency, we follow these guidelines and acknowledge that affirmative action will help us diversify our workforce.

By following these guidelines, we conduct research to determine the diversity of the labor market that provides the persons we need to do our work. We then compare how our employee population compares to the pool of qualified persons. If we find that our own employee population does not represent the pool of qualified persons, we set affirmative action goals and direct recruitment and other human resource processes to meet those goals.

For this fiscal year, we have affirmative action goals in various job groups for one or more of the State of Connecticut defined race/sex categories ( black male, black female Hispanic male, Hispanic female, other male, other female, white male and white female ).

I am personally committed to doing everything we can to achieve these goals and I know that UCHC management will follow my lead. Affirmative action and equal employment opportunities are the “best practices” for the very important work we do and we simply must continuously improve in this area. UCHC management must learn and know how well their own organizational employee profiles reflect the rich mix of persons available for work and use networking to bring that diversity to our employee base.

We must recognize that affirmative action is but one activity that brings a wealth of talent from all walks of life, background, perspectives as well as differences in race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, national origin , ancestry, marital status and abilities to serve the educational and health needs of Connecticut. Beyond this, our core objective is in creating and sustaining a culture that embraces diversity by respecting and valuing each member of the community. It is in such a organizational culture we can truly meet the current and future challenges of providing “remarkable care”. Please join me in making this a reality.

Thank you for your commitment to our goals,

Peter J. Deckers, M.D.
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean,
UConn School of Medicine