Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) touches every aspect of healthcare and is so much more than a series of boxes to check, or a program to layer on top of business as usual. Investing in DE&I means having the courage to have difficult discussions, and confronting history with the type of introspection that hasn’t been required of corporations before. To achieve its full potential, DE&I must be systemic – it needs to be a part of the air everyone breathes. 

In order to broaden our own perspectives at Syneos Health Communications, as well as those of our clients, we have assembled the Syneos DEI Advisory Council, a cross-functional cohort of luminaries with distinct and proven expertise that ranges from business and media, to academia, non-profit, and government. Through quarterly meetings and ongoing polls, the Advisory Council helps identify important issues, then provide insight around the discussions we need to initiate. The council also provides points of view and consultation to Syneos clients through working sessions, brainstorms, and one-on-one meetings. 

A strategic marketing communications program that doesn’t include a DE&I lens isn’t strategic. As Syneos Health commits to raising the bar internally through a number of different efforts, we have also designed a practice to empower companies on their DE&I journey – meeting them at whatever stage they are at, with the goal of helping them understand and address social justice initiatives with urgency and intention. Recent projects for clients have included initiating a strategy for a company that didn’t know where to start; developing a DE&I “MasterClass” Experience for U.S. Marketers; and helping a leading pharma company discuss its challenges communicating with cultural intelligence with Council members. 

DE&I has always been morally imperative, but not necessarily always a priority. We know that robust workplace diversity in an organization has a positive impact on the economies and societies in which the business operates. Organizations that lead the way in DE&I see quantifiable improvements in share, a competitive edge in accessing new markets, and a stronger bottom line. But beyond numbers and bottom lines, making DE&I a part of the fabric of the healthcare industry is necessary. It is up to industry leaders and stakeholders to seize opportunities to establish new practices and policies and radically redefine expectations around DE&I for a safer, more equitable society overall.

About the Author:

As Head of Corporate Communications, Cynthia leads the corporate communications practice at Syneos Health, delivering strategy, DE&I counsel, executive visibility, thought leadership, and corporate communications counsel to healthcare companies. She works with CEOs and executives across a range of companies, from Fortune 500 corporations to emerging startups. Cynthia is an expert in defining and building corporate stories that unite their stakeholders around a shared purpose. She is passionate about health equity and diversity, working both within Syneos and with her clients to ensure culturally competent programs, communications and training that supports inclusiveness and impacts success in how they serve diverse stakeholders. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.