I joined Healthcare Design almost 12 years ago, just weeks before attending my very first Healthcare Design Expo & Conference. I learned immediately that this is a passionate, mission-driven, and inspiring bunch. I also noticed as I walked the show that attendees were predominantly white men. Over the years, I’ve seen more women enter the field and rise to lead healthcare design in meaningful efforts; however, I still don’t encounter many people of color in my work and travel.

I imagine my experience isn’t unlike your own. It’s a tough reality to accept, but one the industry has to face: Frequently, the individuals delivering healthcare projects aren’t representative of the complex communities being served. Many organizations have been grappling with this issue for a while now, but the past year of social injustice and health disparities coming to light has inspired a new vigor in addressing it.

Here at Healthcare Design, we decided to dedicate part of this issue to the subject of diversity, celebrating people, projects, and programs leading the way. As part, I asked a group of industry members to join me in a roundtable discussion on the topic. These are individuals who were on my personal radar regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for one reason or another. I knew I had the right group gathered, yet I was still blown away by what they shared.

The grassroots efforts within their companies to attract young people to the field, promote equity in the workplace and diversity in leadership positions, and apply all of it to bettering the delivery of healthcare and improve the well-being of our communities is impressive, to say the least.

I walked away from our conversation inspired but also with the distinct feeling that things really are changing. As they shared, healthcare systems are already there—facing health disparities head on, having uncomfortable conversations about what’s causing them, and ensuring they have the right people in place to help address them. That’s where project teams come in. Designers should be able not only to join in those conversations, but to prove that they, too, are driving DEI within their own organizations. As Advocate Aurora Health’s Victoria Navarro says, she will ask for details on a firm’s DEI program to ensure that the organizations they partner with mirror the system and its communities.

As we move forward as an industry, I’m thinking about the role Healthcare Design plays in this process. We’ve made efforts to consider the projects we’re covering, the individuals we’re interviewing, and participants in our programming. But I know we could do more—part of that is simply having the opportunity to meet and interact with diverse industry members. I encourage all of you to consider the same: Nominate your diverse staff members for our awards, identify them as article sources, and send them to our events.

We’re here to recognize everyone’s contributions, and I can’t wait to see what the industry looks like in another 12 years.