The following essay is meant to directly correlate to a separate presentation. Due to the inability to directly import a Prezi to Edspace, the presentation link is provided here. Enjoy!
Does diversification matter?
These three simple words are the foundation for the sentence:
In today’s socially and technologically advanced world, how much does diversification really matter when it comes to healthcare?
Although these two sentences may generate different responses, they are both getting at the same idea. When I was beginning this project, I started by asking myself the second question. However, the more research I did to find an answer, the more I began asking myself the simplified question instead. Does diversification matter? If the answer to that was ‘no’, then the answer to my more complex question would ultimately be ‘no’ as well. After all, the root is the same no matter how many filler words I chose to add. However, answering the root seemed to be a lot more challenging.
All this came about when I was examining the website for the George Washington University Hospital. At the time, there were four main banners which would rotate whenever a guest visited the site:
These banners, which were simple in design, struck a nerve for me. I was annoyed to see the two pictures of the surgeons as white males, while the patients were all black, and only one female doctor was shown doing a seemingly simply task. This annoyance led me to question whether or not GW Hospital represented diversity at all. This, in turn, led to the question of diversity in healthcare, with the root of diversity in general. Now, the topic of diversity in general is a rather large one to tackle, so I decided to focus my efforts in the more immediate vicinity of Washington DC, with the neighborhood of Foggy Bottom (where GW Hospital is located) being of particular interest. By understanding what diversification looks like in DC, I was hoping to better understand the intent and viewpoint behind GWH’s website.
Before I got into the logistics of DC though, I wanted to have a clear idea of the importance of diversification on an economic/ fiscal level. I basically wanted to understand whether there was an open discourse around diversification and its benefits in the workplace. If there was an open discourse on the subject, and if diversity was in fact deemed beneficial, then that idea could be extended over to the healthcare field. As it turns out, there are a significant number of sources which do state that diversity is beneficial in the workplace (Johnson). Since healthcare is technically a business, diversity should be considered beneficial for them as well. With this in mind, I decided to give GWH another chance by watching their youtube video:
To put it softly, I was underwhelmed. The first time I watched it, I actually made a post for class explaining my displeasure. For me, they still just didn’t show enough diversity. This got me thinking, perhaps I was looking at this all wrong. Was diversification not important in healthcare after all? According to Akanksha Jayanthi and Meredith King it is. Both of these women reported on diversity in healthcare for various publications, and both women agree on the mutual benefit of diversity for both the healthcare providers and their patients. Given this information, and the solidity of the idea that diversification matters in economic terms, I decided to shift my attention to the cultural standpoint of diversity instead.
According to the US Census Bureau, minority populations will become the majority in America by 2043 (King). Do these changes in demographics impact us positively or negatively- or perhaps it’s some combination of both? Diversification allows people to broaden their horizons, and approach dilemmas from a viewpoint they would have otherwise been oblivious too. I look at it almost like dog breeds. Even though purebred dogs may be more expensive, mutts are actually often associated with fewer health concerns. This is due to the fact that a mutt, or mixed-breed dog, has antibodies and genetics from multiple ancestry lines. This arrangement of various genes helps to fight off more disease than a single breed, which may have only been exposed to a certain type of illness. When people come together, we are able to be more innovative. As technology progresses, it’s easier than ever for people who come from completely different socioeconomic, political, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to find themselves intermingling and assimilating with one another. One place where I think this assimilation occurs at a particularly rapid rate, would be Washington DC.
All this positive talk about diversity is great, but it paints a little too optimistic of a picture. The rose-colored glasses need to come off at some point. I do think it’s completely accurate to say that DC is very diverse, but that diversity needs to be correctly attributed to its source. Historically, DC was known as a very black city. In fact, upon its founding, about 25% of DC’s population was black (Iweala). After the Civil War, the black population increased even more as freed slaves moved north to establish better lives for themselves and their families. The years that followed were accompanied by numerous advances for the black community of DC, including the founding of Howard University (the nation’s most prominent historically black university). However, in recent years, this has changed significantly. DC is a city which has undergone substantial gentrification.
“DC’s economic transformation began when Anthony Williams, the control board-backed chief financial officer of the city was elected mayor in 1999. In his two terms, Williams brought over $40bn of investment to the city. Coupled with an expanding federal government during the presidencies of George W Bush and Barack Obama, this led to an unprecedented increase in population, increased pressure on existing housing stock, and a demographic transformation that has seen Washington’s African American population decrease by 7.3% while the white population has increased by 17.8% over the last 15 years.” (Iweala)
Depending on who you are, you may see these changes as good or bad. The overall standard of living has increased, and this new money has improved certain structural areas of DC. But these changes have also pushed back those who cannot afford to keep up with the times, and the overall landscape of DC has changed as well. One area where this is particularly true is the neighborhood of Foggy Bottom, a.k.a. the home of George Washington University Hospital. Foggy Bottom, like many other places in DC, is now a predominantly middle and upper class white neighborhood. However, it was previously a black neighborhood in the late 1800’s and the first half of the 20th century (25th And I St. NW). To illustrate the difference, below is a picture of a townhouse area in Foggy Bottom in 1955 vs today:
Today, that white townhouse (present in both pictures) has a Zillow estimated value of over $1,000,000. When considering such a drastic change in environment, it’s important to look at any possible influencing factor. One such factor for Foggy Bottom could very well be the George Washington University Hospital, and corresponding college.
GWH was built in 1948 and was the most technologically modern hospital of its age in DC. The hospital attempted to continue with that level of technological expertise, by completely rebuilding the 458,278 sqft 371-bed hospital in 2002 (The George Washington University Hospital). The current ownership of GW Hospital is between two companies, George Washington University and A King of Prussia (A King of Prussia is actually a subsidiary of Universal Health Services Inc. which is a Pennsylvanian healthcare management company). A King of Prussia holds an 80% stake in the hospital, where GW only holds 20% (About). It is interesting that even though UHS holds a much greater stake in the hospital’s management, GW is the company which gets the majority recognition. The name, logo, and location of GW Hospital are all directly correlated to George Washington University itself, and there is little reference to UHS at all. Therefore, the university should also be examined.
Located in the same neighborhood of Foggy Bottom, George Washington University is a private college in DC which was charted by an act of congress in 1821 (Admin). The annual tuition for GW is about $67,000 (including room and board), the student body is 55% white, 39% of all students come from families with a median income of over $110,000, and graduates from GW make an average of about $64,000 (Explore). Given all this information, it would be safe to say that the students, families, and alumni of GW tend to be fairly affluent. Many of the businesses, residences, and offices in Foggy Bottom are built to cater to the GW crowd, meaning they are built with larger disposable incomes in mind. With this understanding, it’s easy to see at least one reason why the overall atmosphere of Foggy Bottom could change so drastically.
Now let’s apply all this information to my original question: In today’s socially and technologically advanced world, how much does diversification really matter when it comes to healthcare? Clearly, diversification in healthcare is important. This is evident given the presence of a discourse around diversity in the healthcare and business community. What’s more, is that the George Washington University, the brand behind the hospital, has a website centered specifically around their efforts towards diversity and inclusion. As it turns out many of the previously quoted sources also discuss how diversification is significantly underrepresented in business, healthcare, and numerous social environments. The fact that GW is showing any type of diversity in their videos, may actually be a step in the right direction.
I recently revisited GWH’s website and rewatched their YouTube video. Now, both of these seem to incorporate a decent amount of minority representation. Sure, there could be more, and I do still think that the majority of leadership roles (such as surgeons) are made to be white males, but that may not be all bad. GWH is a business, and they have to cater to their customer. The hospital is located in an affluent area, and they cater to an affluent crowd. Pre-established ideas of who should be in leadership roles (such as white male surgeons) existed long before GWH created their video, or built their website. When reviewing their material, it’s evident that they are beginning to show both gender and ethnic minorities in ways which many places aren’t.
GWH is a commonplace location for those associated with the university, as well as many prominent citizens of the surrounding area. The hospital is in an area that is undergoing a significant amount of change, and they seem to be responding as best they can. Foggy Bottom, and DC in general, are experiencing economic and societal pressures which are changing their overall atmosphere, and GWH is no exception to this. Only time will really tell how well each of these places respond. But the one thing that is certain, is that the changes in one of these locations, will greatly effect the changes in the others. If GWH continues to push towards greater minority inclusion, then hopefully the rest of DC can follow.
“About George Washington University Hospital.” The George Washington University Hospital, 11 Mar. 2016, https://www.gwhospital.com/about.
“About Howard.” Howard University, 2012, www2.howard.edu/about/about-howard.
Admin. “The George Washington University Hospital WASHINGTON, DC.” HCD Magazine, 1 Sept. 2005, www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/architecture/george-washington- university- hospital-washington-dc/.
“Best Practices in Achieving Workforce Diversity.” govinfo.library.unt.edu/npr/library/workforce-diversity.pdf.
Charron, David. “Five Walkable, High-Density D.C. Neighborhoods That Are Also Quiet.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Mar. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2017/03/13/five-walkable-high-density-d-c-neighborhoods-that-are-also-quiet/?utm_term=.c65e913fea36.
“Explore George Washington University.” Niche, 18 Apr. 2017, www.niche.com/colleges/george-washington-university/.
GWUHospital. “George Washington University Hospital – Quality Hospital Care.” YouTube, 16 July 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpn8Stb3MMQ.
“The George Washington University Hospital.” HCD Magazine, 31 Aug. 2005, http://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/architecture/george-washington-university-hospital-washington-dc/.
Iweala, Uzodinma. “The Gentrification of Washington DC: How My City Changed Its Colours.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Sept. 2016, www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/12/gentrification-washington-dc-how-my-city-changed-colours.
Ingram, David. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Diversity in Workplace.” Chron.com, Hearst, 2017, smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-diversity-workplace-3041.html.
Jayanthi, Akanksha. “The New Look of Diversity in Healthcare: Where We Are and Where We’re Headed.” Becker’s Hospital Review, 8 Mar. 2016, www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/the-new-look-of-diversity-in-healthcare-where-we-are-and-where-we-re-headed.html.
Johnson, Rose. “What Are the Advantages of a Diverse Workforce?” Chron.com, 26 Oct. 2016, smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-diverse-workforce-18780.html.
King, Meredith. “The Importance of Cultural Diversity in Healthcare|Brainwaves.” UVM Continuing and Distance Education, 25 Sept. 2014, learn.uvm.edu/bloghealth/cultural-diversity-in-healthcare.
Vinjamuri, David. “Diversity In Advertising Is Good Marketing.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 11 Dec. 2015, www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2015/12/11/diversityinadsisgoodmarketing/.
“Vision and Mission.” Diversity & Inclusion | The George Washington University, The George Washington University, diversity.gwu.edu/vision-and-mission.
“Welcome To The George Washington University Hospital.” The George Washington University Hospital, 25 Apr. 2017, www.gwhospital.com/.
“25th And I St. NW.” Digital DC, The George Washington University, exhibits.library.gwu.edu/exhibits/show/digitaldc/foggy-bottom/25th-and-i-street-nw.
The above is a collection of photographs from Google Street view of the George Washington University Hospital and the surrounding area. These photos start with the “current” day view, which was taken by Google in December of 2016. Under that is the oldest street view which Google has of the area, taken in August 2007. The order of the remaining screenshots is: June 2008, July 2009, June 2011, April 2014, then June 2015. What’s most interesting for me to notice, is that the exterior of GW Hospital does not change at all, yet the neighborhood does quite a bit. Most obviously would be the giant glass building which is erected across the street from GWH. However, through the trees one can also see the introduction of another office building through the years. Next to the glass building, there is also another new building which appears between 2009 and 2011. What’s also a little fun to look at is the change in car brands in these pictures. In the earliest pictures, the cars seem to be less expensive brands, such as Ford, Toyota, or cabs. However, as the years progress there are more luxury automobiles in the screenshots. In 2011, there is a Mercedes in the middle of the street, in 2015 there is a BMW and Acura, and in the most recent picture a Lexus and BMW. Now, this could be pure coincidence, or it could be very representative of the increased socioeconomic and political atmosphere of the area.
“Vision and Mission.” Diversity & Inclusion | The George Washington University, The George Washington University, diversity.gwu.edu/vision-and-mission. Accessed 1 May 2017.
As many colleges and universities currently have, the George Washington University has an office dedicated to racial and cultural diversity and inclusion. This office, effectively titled “the Office for Diversity, Equality, and Community Engagement”, has a website completely dedicated to their presence and operations at GW. This website goes over the mission of the office, as well as how they are attempting to achieve that mission in practice. One of the first pages you can visit on their website is their “Vision and Mission” page. This page explains the overall position which the office holds, and what they hope to accomplish. They also explain briefly why office exists, saying that they agree with the idea that an atmosphere of inclusion is mutually beneficial for both the establishment and those working/ studying there. After this explanation, they explain their vision, and then their mission statement. The entire web page is maybe a few hundred words, so not very long. They concisely get to the point, with little room for confusion or personal (possibly incorrect) interpretation.
Previously, although I acknowledged the presence of GW University on the hospital, I don’t feel that I gave it as much effort as I should have. As I mentioned in my first essay, the George Washington University is an essential aspect of the hospital, so the economic and political background of the students, faculty, and staff of the school should be heavily considered. However, what I neglected to pay attention to was the cultural and social background of these groups of people. The more I learn about the cultural history of DC, the more I begin to realize the GW Hospital and University may not be very representative of the city as a whole. This is argumentatively neither good nor bad, but it does bring many questions to the surface. If GW Hospital stands apart from the majority of the city, then perhaps what has previously been viewed as socially stunted is actually socially progressive. Understanding exactly where the hospital, and by default the school, is coming from may help put generate some answers for these questions.
“25th And I St. NW.” Digital DC, The George Washington University, exhibits.library.gwu.edu/exhibits/show/digitaldc/foggy-bottom/25th-and-i-street- nw. Accessed 1 May 2017.
“25th And I St. NW” is digital document which explains the effect of gentrification in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of DC. Foggy Bottom, which is located in DC’s northwest quadrant, is home to GWU and GW Hospital. What was originally a lower class black community, has lately changed to a mostly middle and upper class white neighborhood. Like much of DC, Foggy Bottom has experienced substantial gentrification within the past 100 years. The point of “25th And I St. NW” is to help document these changes. Interestingly published by a subsidiary of GW University themselves, the piece discusses how the area has changed over the years. The piece also contains numerous pictures, building permits, maps, and newspaper articles pertaining to the changing landscape. The piece focuses on the changes which occurred in the 1950s and 60s, and makes little reference to the university or hospital nearby. However, it provides significant information about the changes to the area, which helped shape it into the foggy bottom of today.
I have been looking for a piece like this for awhile, so I’m glad I finally found one. Although the ultimate goal would be to find an article which talks directly about how GW has changed the area, this piece is still extremely useful. An added bonus of the piece would be the selection of pictures and external documents which help shed a light to the changing demographics of the area. It may just be coincidence, but it is interesting to me that there is little reference to the George Washington Hospital or University nearby, since the piece was published by the university. There is also limited reasoning provided as to why exactly the area began changing. It explains that newer residents of a higher socioeconomic status began moving to the area, but it does not give a reason as to why they began moving there. All that being said, I’m still incredibly thankful I found this piece. Information on Foggy Bottom specifically has been slightly challenging to find, and so this helps out alot. I previously read that DC was a predominantly black city, but I also read about how the GW Hospital was not hospital which tended to help clients of color or lower class. I was confused to as if Foggy Bottom had always been a whiter area, or if gentrification changed that. Thanks to this piece, I now have a clear answer to that question.
Ok, so to say this is the view of the GW Hospital from the National Monuments may be a bit of a stretch, but this is the view of the hospital from the direction of the monuments. This is also the view of the hospital from the nearest metro stop, which stops right next to the hospital (you can see the metro sign in the above picture). This view is a little “nicer” that the view from Washington Circle, due to all of the windows. However, it follows the same rules of meshing well with the surrounding neighborhood.
This is the view of GW Hospital from the Washington Circle NW, which is on the side of GW Hospital opposite of the National Mall and monuments. The majority of people coming to the hospital most likely come from this direction (due to the proximity of major roadways). Therefore, it’s safe to say that this view is one of the first impressions people get from GW Hospital. As discussed in previous posts, the hospital looks relatively new and in good condition, yet is not out of place at all with the surrounding buildings.
Aside from the elongated girl in the foreground, there really isn’t anything too out-of-the-ordinary about the GW Hospital, as this panorama picture of the exterior shows. The building appears to be relatively new, but not overly unusual. The stone is a simple brown color, and although there are a good amount of windows used on either side of the building, they are not architecturally designed to be outlandishly modern. It fits in closely with the surrounding area, which you can glimpse a little in this picture, which houses other stereotypical semi-tall city buildings in whites and browns. It would appear to me that GW Hospital put effort into their design to compliment their neighborhood, rather than stand apart.
One of the first things someone may notice about GW Hospital, especially if one is searching for the building intentionally, would be its signage. The building itself is not that extraordinary: it has a simplistic brown stone and glass facade, so it blends in relatively well with the surrounding buildings (pictures in other posts). So what really helps set the hospital apart would be the signs letting people know where they are. The two signs that stood out the most would be the main “The George Washington University Hospital UHS Universal Health” sign in black, and the ER Hospital Entrance location signage. However it’s interesting to note that even these signs are relatively simplistic in design. GW Hospital either purposefully wanted to be discrete in their design, or they may figure that those who need to know of the hospital’s location, will know without any dramatic notifications.