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Celebrating Diversity


Cook Medical’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

November 1, 2023

Cook Medical came together to celebrate the rich tapestry of Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage Month events held at our US locations. Running from September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is not only a time for us to learn about and commemorate the culture, traditions, and history of Hispanic and Latinx communities, but also a time for us at Cook Medical to reflect on the contributions of these groups to medical innovation and to honor the diverse experiences that make our team unique.

This year’s events gave our teams memorable and enriching opportunities to learn about Hispanic pioneers in medicine and Hispanic culture, and to enjoy foods from around the world. Join us as we reflect on the festivities and learning that made this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month an unforgettable celebration.

The Hispanic Heritage themed meal with free beverages and/or churros was a fun way for me to introduce something new to some of my coworkers. It led to great follow-up conversations with new recommendations for local restaurants and tiendas.

– Theresa Forshey, Ethnic Minorities Business Resource Group, Cook Medical

Celebrating Hispanic and Latinx culture

Cook employees enjoy churros

Learning about our different cultures helps build connections and better understanding with those we work with. It’s why we incorporate resources and educational events into our celebrations. Joining forces with our Ethnic Minorities Business Resource Group, we held an event featuring music and dance, as well as education on traditions, food, and music across Spanish-speaking countries around the world.

Our US locations also invited employees to come together to savor the delicious flavors of several Hispanic dishes, including tamales, taquitos, and churros while enjoying the sounds of music by Hispanic artists.

Recognizing Hispanic pioneers in medicine

Hispanic pioneers in medicine have made an indelible mark on medicine and improving patient care. From Severo Ochoa, whose groundbreaking discovery of an enzyme that synthesizes RNA led to him being honored as the first Hispanic American to win the

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, to Helen Rodríguez-Trías, whose activism surrounding forced sterilization, as well as care for patients with HIV/AIDS, improved equity, patient consent, and standards of care for all patients, the work of Hispanic and Latinx doctors and scientists has left a lasting impact.

An educational table display about Hispanic Heritage Month

Honoring our values

Our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month goes beyond the festivities; it reflects our core values of treating everyone with respect and continually improving as an organization. By acknowledging and honoring diverse cultures within our company, we recognize the individuality and contributions of each employee’s experience and create tangible expressions of our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace where every voice is heard, valued, and celebrated.

 

 


How Cook Medical celebrated Pride Month

September 8, 2023

Cook Medical celebrates the diversity of our employees and communities around the world and is committed to offering an affirming and welcoming environment for our teams. In June, we held events and trainings for Pride Month, an important celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our senior manager of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Pauli Escobedo, had this to say about Pride:

“Cook is full of vibrant, diverse, and passionate people. We have always taken pride in the unique culture we have created—one that is focused on its people. Celebrating and acknowledging Pride at Cook is about ensuring that everyone, including our LGBTQIA+ community, feels welcomed and respected within our culture.”

History of Pride Month celebrations

This year marked the 53rd anniversary of the first celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. First celebrated in 1970, the celebration honors the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, which is widely recognized as the beginning of the gay liberation movement. The Stonewall Uprising began as a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay nightclub, and led to thousands of members of the LGBTQIA+ community rising up against discriminatory laws and housing and employment discrimination. Today, Pride Month is celebrated across the globe as a recognition of both the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and LGBTQIA+ culture.

Pride celebrations at Cook

We were thrilled to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community through events across eight global locations this year. Our teams hosted a Pride Day in the cafeterias of these locations, handing out cookies and information on Pride@Cook, a new employee-led business resource group (BRG) open to employees in all Cook locations around the globe.

Cook Medical also participated in Pride Month celebrations through corporate sponsorships of local Pride festivals. Cities whose Pride festivals included a sponsorship from Cook were Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Limerick, Ireland; Bloomington, Indiana; Brisbane, Australia; and Spencer, Indiana.

Internal education and awareness

In June, we held a kickoff meeting for one of our newest business resource groups, Pride@Cook. The goals of Pride@Cook are to create connections between members, the organization, and the larger LGBTQIA+ community, to provide supportive tools and resources for members of the BRG, and to educate the organization. We also provided resources to global Cook employees through our intranet site, sharing information on Pride events happening in Cook office locations, articles about the LGBTQIA+ experience, and resources for allies. We also held an HR business partner training to increase our team’s awareness and cultural competence on these topics.

Cook’s commitment to building an inclusive workplace

At Cook, we believe in celebrating everyone’s unique identity and experience. We aim to create not only a diverse workplace, but also inclusion and equity throughout our business operations, communities, and the healthcare landscape. You can read more about Cook’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as past celebrations, here.

What is LGBTQIA+?

The “LGBTQIA” part of this acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual. The “+” stands for additional identities that do not fit into the other categories, such as non-binary, pansexual, or two-spirit.


Cook employees hand out cookies for a Pride Month celebration at our Bloomington headquarters


 

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Cook Medical

March 29, 2023

Cook celebrates Women's History Month

In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month. This month, here’s how we’ve been reflecting on the incredible contributions that women have made on the field of medicine, as well as current and future initiatives we are working on at Cook to open doors for women to continue to contribute to product innovation, leadership, and better patient outcomes.

By honoring the pioneers who paved the way

Women have contributed a great deal to the field of medicine. In the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female physician in 1849, after being rejected from ten medical schools. The school she attended had asked male students whether to admit her and they had agreed, believing they were being pranked.

She was closely followed by Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to earn an MD degree in the U.S. in 1864 and went on to provide medical care to formerly enslaved people after the Civil War, despite the racism and sexism she faced.

Many other women helped to pave the way in their respective fields, contributing valuable knowledge such as the co-discovery of the structure of DNA, discovering the enzyme telomerase which led to new cancer treatments, and the Apgar score, which is still used today to assess newborn health.

While not a physician, Gayle Cook played a big role in co-founding Cook Medical with her husband Bill. For the first year, she and Bill were the sole employees, with Bill building wire guides and catheters during the day and Gayle inspecting them in the evening for quality control. Once sales started rolling in, Gayle also took on the bookkeeping, invoicing, and correspondence. She used her fine arts background to create the signage Bill used in tradeshow booths. Outside of the business, Gayle became very involved in historic preservation around Indiana and was a founding member of the Monroe County Historical Society Museum, where she is still involved today.

By supporting representation for better patient care

Picture of Women in Otolaryngology General Assembly & Luncheon

Women in Otolaryngology General Assembly & Luncheon

Women have been historically underrepresented as physicians. Fortunately, the tides have begun to shift. The percentage of doctors who are women increased from 28% to 36% between 2007 and 2019, and in 2019, women made up a majority of medical school student for the first time ever, at 50.5%.

The rising numbers of women in the medical field are important because data from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests better outcomes for female patients when their doctor is a woman.

Cook is working to be more intentional in supporting efforts to amplify women’s voices in medicine throughout the medical specialties where women have typically been underrepresented. This includes seeking out diverse voices for our educational and scientific programming opportunities, as well sponsorship and partnerships with the Endourological Society, Women in Otolaryngology, and Women in Endoscopy.

Additionally, Cook has partnered with several female clinicians on products, including Dr. Amy Thurmond on the Rösch-Thurmond Fallopian Tube Catheterization Set, Dr. Marguerite Shepard on the Shepard Intrauterine Insemination Catheter Set, and Kay Quick, NP, on the Thal-Quick Chest Tube. We are looking to work with more female physicians on projects, technology development, R&D consulting, and medical education courses.

By supporting the advancement of all women

Support the Girls donations image

Donations were collected for I Support the Girls during a special Women’s History Month luncheon at Cook headquarters in Bloomington, IN.

Women of all walks of life need support. That’s one of the reasons why in 2022, Cook began Women@Cook, a business resource group for employees throughout the globe. The group was created to advocate for the unique personal and professional needs of employees who identify as women at Cook, connect them to development opportunities, and educate the broader Cook organization on what it means to be inclusive to women.

As with many things at Cook, we strive to bring that spirit of support into the communities where we live and work, upholding our value of giving back. A group of Women@Cook members celebrated Women’s History Month with a luncheon at our Bloomington, IN, headquarters on March 28. At this event, participants held a donation drive for I Support the Girls, which collects hygiene items like menstrual products and bras for people experiencing homelessness. Initial totals show nearly 3,000 products donated, $84 in cash donations to buy more products, and several incoming donations through the organization’s Amazon Wish List.

By recognizing intersectional identities

Intersectionality is the concept that systems of inequality often overlap—for example, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, parental status, and more. For many, “woman” is just one of several identities, and acknowledging that women are not a monolith helps us to better support the unique obstacles.

To recognize this unique experience, two of our business resource groups—Ethnic Minorities @ Cook and Women @ Cook—will be collaborating to host an event in March called “Intersectionality – Living and Working as an Ethnic Minority Woman”. This discussion is intended to share perspectives with the broader Cook community and highlight the environments where team members felt included or excluded and situations in which they have felt privileged, at a disadvantage, or marginalized.

Ethnic minority banner
Women at Cook banner

Banners for Cook’s Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Business Resources Groups

We hope that these continuing conversations will help deepen our understanding of how we must commit to continuing the work toward eliminating all forms of bias and equality in order to achieve true equality.


 

Three ways we’re celebrating Black History all year long at Cook

February 21, 2023

Black History Month display Black History Month displays at Cook Medical headquarters

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions that the Black community has made to culture, the arts, science, and to our society as a whole. It’s also a chance to listen, reflect, and recommit to efforts that combat racial bias and bring us closer to equality. Here are three ways that we here at Cook Medical are committing to deepening our knowledge, using our voice to amplifying Black voices, and working with our industry and community partners to make progress year round.

1. By learning about Black pioneers and leaders in medicine

At Cook, we’re grateful for the many contributions that Black leaders of the past and present have made in the field of medicine, and we have created an online resource hub where all our teams can learn about some of these important figures and find additional information and education on Black History.

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

From Dr. James McCune Smith, the US’s first Black doctor, who fought back against race-based pseudoscience and advocated for better medical care for his community, to Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a 2021 TIME Magazine Hero of the Year, whose research into spike proteins formed the basis of life-saving vaccines against COVID-19, the tireless work of Black doctors and scientists has created better outcomes for millions of patients across the globe.

Black doctors currently make up just 4% of American doctors, with a study from the Association of American Medical Colleges showing explicit bias, economic issues, lack of role models, and unequal access to educational opportunities as key factors behind this underrepresentation. This disparity negatively affects patient outcomes in Black patients, who are more likely to develop trust, accept screening recommendations, and discuss health issues with a Black doctor versus a non-Black doctor.

To truly solve problems together, we’ve committed to supporting organizations that work to remove these barriers for Black healthcare providers and patients and that elevate Black voices in medicine.

Last year, Cook Vascular supported the very first in-person meeting for the Society of Black Vascular Surgeons at the Society for Vascular Surgery Annual Meeting (SVS VAM). This was the first time the group met in-person after forming during the pandemic.

Learn about more Black leaders in healthcare here

2. By encouraging support for Black-owned businesses year round

Indy Fresh Market Rendering of the new Indy Fresh Market grocery store, a Cook collaboration in Indianapolis

Partnering with and buying from Black-owned businesses and suppliers is crucial to closing wealth gaps and creating job growth, and Cook has placed intentional focus on our role in these efforts.

In 2022, Cook partnered with Martin University, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, and Impact Central Indiana to break ground on 38th and Sheridan, a manufacturing facility located in a majority-Black area of Indianapolis that has seen a significant loss of employment and investment in recent years.

In addition to the 38th and Sheridan facility, Cook has invested in Indy Fresh Market, a grocery store constructed in a food desert near the new manufacturing facility. Indy Fresh Market will be built by Cook using 100% minority contractors and will be owned and operated by neighborhood residents Michael McFarland and Marckus Williams.

Researchers from the IU Public Policy Institute estimate the 38th and Sheridan facility to have an economic impact of nearly $26 million per year on Marion County and the grocery store to have an impact of $4.5 million per year.

Cook Medical President Pete Yonkman has also called on other business leaders to invest effort, space, and expertise in finding solutions—rather than just philanthropy—to issues that plague areas like the 38th and Sheridan neighborhood. Yonkman announced this call for support in the form of a 24-Hour CEO Challenge at a February 9 meeting of the Economic Club of Indiana.

3. By acknowledging that we still have work to do

In 2020, we released Our position against racism, where we acknowledged our responsibility to do our part in combating injustice and intolerance in the global community. Since then, we’ve introduced employee-led Business Resource Groups, established community partnerships with intentional effort to build a more diverse candidate pool, rolled out unconscious bias training for all employees, and worked with our global teams to develop action plans for each region with a Cook office.

While we’re proud to report that we’ve made progress against each of our original objectives, we know that the mission is never accomplished while discrimination and inequality continue to exist in our world. To that end, we will continue to listen to our employees and global communities as we seek to do the work toward creating a more affirming and just society.