A left-wing health nonprofit is praising an Oregon clinic for its commitment to “health equity”—just weeks after workers accused the Portland facility of racial discrimination.

Employees at the Oregon Health and Science University’s (OHSU) Richmond Clinic organized a walkout in March over allegations that the facility’s management practices racial discrimination and has tried to silence workers who complain. Just weeks after the walkout, however, the California Improvement Network, a nonprofit committed to eliminating “structural barriers that prevent people of color” from receiving health care, praised the clinic for its advancement of “health equity.”

“OHSU Richmond’s broader approach to healthy equity work prioritizes centering people with lived experience and seeks leadership from these individuals,” the California Improvement Network stated in its “Toolkit to Advance Racial Health Equity in Primary Care Improvement,” which the group published this month.

This toolkit conflicts with a 2021 report commissioned by OHSU that determined the clinic “failed to create an environment which community members feel values diversity, equity, and inclusion (‘DEI’) and makes them feel welcome and safe.”

The clinic has not effectively addressed these concerns, according to some employees, who allege it enforces racist hiring practices and has a “discriminatory workplace culture,” the Portland Mercury reported last month. According to one black employee, clinic officials played music during a Zoom meeting to drown out his comments about racial bias. In another instance, employees claimed that two white workers were “acting black” in a photo to promote beanies.

The alleged discrimination caused one worker to go on mental health leave.

“A lot of the time our performance will be judged a lot more harshly than employees that are not employees of color,” the worker, who remained anonymous, told the Mercury. “No employer is perfect and sometimes you are going to be in a difficult situation as a person of color, but this experience I’ve had at OHSU has been beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in over 10 years of being in health care.”

OHSU announced last week it is revamping its human resources department in response to the workers’ allegations. The local AFSCME union that represents the workers did not respond to a request for comment.

In its equity report, the California Improvement Network praised OHSU for its coordination with community leaders and efforts to combat “racial inequities in diabetes.” The network is funded by the California Health Care Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to promote health care access for minorities. The organization did not respond to a request for comment.

A Toolkit to Advance Racial Health Equity in Primary Care Improvement by Washington Free Beacon on Scribd

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