Caz Recovery’s DEI Efforts
Posted on: October 31, 2022
Our society is rightly discussing the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and organizations that deal with substance use have a particularly important role to play. This is due to the long-standing history of white supremacy around criminalization of drug use. As such, the advocacy and efforts of Caz Recovery and providers like us will help to advance DEI in our communities.
Training on DEI
Training is a key component to bringing DEI into an organization’s day-to-day operations, and that’s where we’ve spent a lot of our attention recently. As we’ve done every year, we held an internal training in the spring on cultural competency. Many of our staff members also participated in a recent training on DEI for substance use disorder services by Ragan & Amos Associates. It was hosted by the Western New York Chemical Dependency Consortium, and Caz Recovery’s staff members found it to be extremely helpful. These trainings have all encouraged staff to be aware of their own cultural biases in the care they provide.
In the second quarter of the year, we spoke with our staff about DEI in Reaching Peaks, our internal newsletter. The topics focused on defining and setting the groundwork for understanding DEI, the racism inherently found in the way our society has handled the opioid epidemic compared to the crack epidemic in the 1980s, and how Buffalo could heal after the tragic and racist mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson.
The events that we’ve seen in our communities recently have demonstrated that integrating DEI requires collaboration and commitment to move the work forward. Late last year, Caz Recovery incorporated aspects of DEI into our core values to ensure that they help to guide us in our future planning. We’ve also surveyed our staff on various topics related to our integration of DEI. We’re now in the process of creating a workgroup to help analyze the results in order to make them actionable.
Of course, DEI isn’t focused solely on race and ethnicity. We’re also working to create environments that are even more welcoming for people who identify as LGBTQ+. Rates of substance use are higher in LGBTQ+ communities. People of trans and non-binary experience face especially high rates of substance use. In acknowledgement of this, we’ve included gender-affirming care into our policies and procedures. Caz Recovery staff members have also been encouraged to include their pronouns in their email signatures in recognition of the need to create inclusive places for individuals who are transgender and non-binary.
Next up, we’re planning on presenting our services to local organizations that support people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and others to ensure that these populations have access to our life-saving programs. We’ve also diversified our recruitment efforts to ensure that we’re attracting talent and new staff members from many different kinds of communities. This will ensure that we’re able to provide culturally-competent care to the individuals we support. While there’s still much work to be done, Caz Recovery is committed to incorporating DEI into our work and operations.
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