A Message About Racial Justice

During these uncertain and challenging times, I would like to share that I’m appalled by the acts of injustice that we have recently witnessed as a nation. As a person who is more about action than words, I’d like to offer my thoughts about how this pivotal moment in time will impact MJHS Health System going forward.

As an organization dedicated to serving a diverse community, employing a diverse staff and embracing inclusion, there is no tolerance for racism at MJHS, or in my opinion, anywhere else!  The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, because of racial bias, are completely unacceptable. I join you in mourning them and expressing outrage at the mistreatment of the Black community and all people of color.

I acknowledge that I don’t fully understand the systemic racism that plays out in our society, resulting in inequities in nearly every aspect of life, including: in health care, education, housing and criminal justice.  But, I know as the CEO of our organization that we don’t want to contribute to it. We want to support societal change, beginning with making sure MJHS is a place that models what we want our society to be – fair, safe, respectful, inclusive and without bias.  We want our actions to match our intention.

As a result, I have recently spent a great deal of time reflecting on, and discussing with our leadership team, how MJHS can help affect positive change. The following reflects my/our commitment to you:

  • We will take an unvarnished look inward at our organization to identify opportunities for growth and improvement. We realize this may include hearing feedback that is uncomfortable to us. However, this is a necessary part of the process if we are truly going to embrace change.
  • We will seek to identify, and financially support, external organizations that already have a proven track record at affecting positive change as it relates to addressing racial bias and injustice in our city and country. Each day, we live up to our mission by caring for people of all races, ethnicities and sexual orientation/gender expressions with the respect they deserve. By lending support to organizations that are devoted to addressing racial injustice, we can expand our sphere of impact.

As the first step toward achieving the above, we are creating a task force, inclusive of and driven by diverse members of the MJHS team from across the system. It will be their mission to seek feedback, listen carefully, recommend actionable suggestions to management and hold the organization accountable to implementing agreed to changes.

Institutional racism will not be solved overnight. But as your CEO, I offer the organization’s commitment to making the changes required to ensure MJHS will be a more respectful and supportive environment for all employees.

I will continue to provide updates on our progress toward an even better MJHS Health System.

Alexander S. Balko
President & CEO
MJHS Health System