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HBA Houston DE&I Event Recap

Arianne Dowdell

Pursuing Your D (Desire) - E (Excellence) - I (Individuality)
While Leading DE&I

HBA Houston hosted an inspirational conversation with Arianne Dowdell, JD, MA, who currently works as Vice President, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) Officer at Houston Methodist Hospital, one of the top hospitals in the country and the number one ranked hospital in Texas for ten years in a row.*

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The audience was quickly engaged as Arianne took us along her profound personal and professional journey. As the first Chief Diversity Officer of Houston Methodist Hospital, Arianne shared that it was her D (Desire), E (Excellence), & I (Individuality) which brought her to Houston Methodist as defined here:

  • D (Desire): A strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen
  • E (Excellence): The quality of being outstanding or extremely good
  • I (Individuality): The quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked

Her warm and candid demeanor effortlessly transported us as she took us along her DE&I pathways with impactful early memories of growing up and stories of her professional experiences as an attorney, in broadcast media, and working with leading universities. These experiences ultimately prepared her for her current role in passionately leading DE&I at Houston Methodist, located at one of the most diverse cities in the country. She fully embraced this role in the fall of 2020 — at the height of the pandemic.

Under Arianne’s leadership in driving change, the goals for DE&I at Houston Methodist are to empower employees by giving them a voice through diversity, equity, and inclusion education, close the gap on health inequities, provide DE&I resources, analyze data and trends, and develop programs for an inclusive culture for the benefit of employees, patients, and communities served.

Putting the patient at the center of everything they do, DE&I at Houston Methodist is defined as:

  • Diversity: Understanding the background of employees and patients being served, including culture, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, and socioeconomic status
  • Equity: Ensuring patients have what they need in and out of treatment settings to effectively benefit from best practices in treatment (not to be confused with equality)
  • Inclusion: Giving patients a voice to help provide/receive high-quality care and encouraging the presence of a diverse healthcare staff in the treatment experience of patients

Actively and intentionally weaving DE&I into the culture of Houston Methodist has positively impacted higher quality of care for diverse populations, increased patient satisfaction, led to better problem solving and innovation, reduced health disparities, and driven better outcomes while reducing communication breakdown, limited perspectives and ideas, and bias.

To empower underrepresented groups in the workplace, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) were developed. These popular ERGs include Asian Heritage, Black Ties for Culture, Hispanic LatinX, Moms of Methodist, LGBTQ+ Allies, Veterans Alliance, Arab Heritage, and Women’s Empowerment Alliance to date.

With her strong, effective, and purposeful DE&I leadership, Arianne Dowdell not only strengthened the commitment and future of DE&I at Houston Methodist, but she also served to both educate and inspire HBA members in attendance to participate in their own company sponsored DE&I efforts.

“It’s been nice to see employees willing to do the work that needs to be done to move the needle in the right direction.”
— Arianne Dowdell, Vice President and Chief DE&I Officer, Houston Methodist Hospital

Click here to connect with Arianne on LinkedIn or learn more about her professional journey.