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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion inside HHRI

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion inside HHRI

Frontlines of Racism training

Frontlines of Racism is a system-wide effort to enable open and courageous conversations about race and racism at Hennepin Healthcare and Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute.  As part of our mission to provide exceptional and equitable care, Frontlines of Racism is an essential first step.  Participants will watch a collection of interviews with HHS staff recounting experiences of discrimination and racism they've faced while on the job.  Afterwards, participants will discuss with each other ways staff, leaders, and the Hennepin Healthcare System can become more inclusive and supportive of diversity, equity, and inclusion goals within the healthcare and research enterprise.

All full time staff at both Hennepin Healthcare and Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute have participated in Frontlines of Racism sessions in 2022 with new hires being scheduled in 2023.

COMPASS training

Starting in January 2023, all HHRI staff along with HHS staff will embark on COMPASS training, a continuation of the Frontlines of Racism seminar deployed staff-wide in 2022.  All of HHRI have been separated into four cohorts with Cohort A beginning January 2023, and subsequent cohorts starting six months after throughout June 2024.  The program will include instructor-led trainings, online learning assignments, and meetings with a pod of other employees to discuss and reflect on what you're learning.  Compass is anticipated to take up to 36 hours over one year and is required for all employees.

Welcome Letter
How to access the courses

Please note, HHRI staff will log into the Cortex system via a different link from HHS employees.  See below.  You'll want to click on the LOGIN button up top, not the giant HENNEPIN HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE LOGIN button in the middle

For specific questions or troubleshooting on Cortex access, please

All HHRI learners can access Cortex from here:

HHRI New Learners:

Username: your email address

Password: hcmc1234

You will be prompted to create a new password when you first log in.  Once logged in, you can visit "My Courses" to find the Compass curriculum.

Cohort A member list
Lynn Andreae
Katherine Audette
Mikayla Bartelt
Lisa Berndt
Ashley Black
Samuel Boes
Colleen Boyce
Sarah Elmer
Carl Fils-Aime
Pamela Giles
Anna Gillette
Nathalia Gutierrez Sacasa
Daniel Hedberg
Kayla Horak
Olivia Kaus
Silvio Kavistan Vega
Amy Ketterer
Roxanne Kibben
Danielle Laibly
Tina Larson
Connie Lee
Jiannong Liu
Dahlia Maxon
Kim Miller
Gabriella Mullally
Janine Nelson
Maria Teresa Pacheco Hernandez
Tu Quan
Jack Smethells
Tim Stone
Ella Strother
Avery Tooley
Jane Ude
Erin Vonegoni
Duy Vo
Tim Weaver
Sarah Wilde
Anna Wilson
Sandra Wood
Samantha Zabukover
David Zaun
Pearse Ward

Information on the Compass Program

What is the purpose of the Compass Program?

The Compass program aims to:

  • Illuminate the context, impact, and the role of systemic racism and personal bias on health disparities.
  • Change behavior by employing effective communication skills when talking about race, practicing disarming microaggressions, and applying evidence-based approaches to decreasing personal bias.
  • Decrease health disparities, improve retention of employees of color, and improve employee engagement.

What are employees learning in the Compass Program?

The Compass program is a yearlong journey where team members receive an incredible chance to reflect, learn, and connect with other employees, focusing on racial inequities in healthcare systems.  Hennepin Healthcare team members will have the unique opportunity to learn more about the history of racism in the US, how different racial groups have faced racism in the US including Black/African Americans, LatinX/Hispanic Americans, American Indian Alaskan Natives, as well as Asian American Pacific Islanders and how systemic racism contributes to health disparities.  Team members will be armed with historical knowledge, increased awareness and skills to navigate systemic forms of racism as well as interpersonal microaggressions aimed at eliminating health inequalities.

Why is the Compass Program focusing on racism?

The Health Equity strategy at Hennepin Healthcare rests on four pillars-race, the LGBTQIA+ population, disabilities, and social economic status.  We are focusing Compass on the first pillar -antiracism- because Minnesotans who are persons of color are far more likely than others to experience gaps in health care quality and less than optimal health outcomes.  We won't be able to achieve our health equity goals without a shared understanding on racist structures and systems that create these outcomes, so we are starting here.

What is the Compass learning experience like?

Employees are immersed in a health equity training that combines instructor-led sessions, including self-led activities such as online learning assignments, self-reflection, and discussions with others in their cohorts.  Participants will also received the gift of meeting with a Diversity, Equity Inclusion (DEI) coach to guide their DEI learning on a one-on-one basis.

How much time does the Compass Program take to complete?

The Compass Program is a year-long curriculum broken into four modules.  Each module is 3 months long.  The estimated time it will take to complete the program is no more than 3 hours per month.


How will Hennepin Healthcare roll out the Compass Program as a requirement for all employees?

We will take a phased approach to have all 7,000 employees complete the Compass Program in 2.5 years, starting January 2023.  Every six months, a new cohort of 1,750 employees will start the program with start the program with start dates in January 2023, July 2023, January 2024, and July 2024.

Why are we requiring this training?

Hennepin Healthcare is committed to achieving equity in health outcomes and becoming an anti-racist organization as we live out our mission, vision, and values.  We are on a journey to become the most inclusive healthcare organization in the nation, and that means investing in employees' professional development and prioritizing health equity.  A knowledge of the history of racial disparities, a fluency in diversity, equity, and belonging-these are skills that are highly valued in all industries, but especially healthcare.

The Courageous Conversations about Racism was the first step in having an open, honest, and courageous conversation about race in our workplace.  The Compass Program is the next step-a significant investment in our team's professional development.  The Compass Program is a a system-wide education in the history of racial disparities in the United States of America and how it continues to show up in systems including healthcare.

Why are we adding this requirement now, when our teams are so short-staffed?

We know our team is here because they believe in our vision-exceptional care, without exception.  Achieving that mission more effectively and equitably will build their excitement to stay here -and we believe the Compass Program will do just that.  It is an investment in our team's professional development and in building a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, so we can retain a team that works together for better patient care.

Are vendors, contractors, students or volunteers required to participate?

No, anyone that is not considered an employee in PeopleSoft is not required to complete the program.  If the person (vendor, contractor, etc.) does not get assigned Annual Required Training (ART), they are not required to take part in the Compass program.

Are providers, residents, fellows, and trainees required to participate?

Yes.  Providers, residents, fellows, and trainees are coded as employees in PeopleSoft and are assigned ART, so they will be required to participate.

Providers who work less than .4 FTE are not required to participate as they are not required to complete ART.

Are part-time employees required to go through Compass?

Yes. Part-time employees are required to go through Compass, just as they are required to complete ART.

Are casual employees required to go through Compass?

Yes.  Casual employees are required to go through Compass, just as they are required to complete ART.

If employees aren't able to start at the time they were assigned, can they opt for a different start time?

Accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis for those with extreme extenuating circumstances.  Specific request or questions can be direct to Goa Vang at

What if an employee doesn't want to participate in the Compass Program?

All employees are required to attend and complete the yearlong program.  Equity is a quality and safety concern and is therefore a part of HHS's required training, in the same class as ART.

How will attendance be tracked?

Employees will be automatically enrolled in a Cortex curriculum and will be asked to submit an attestation that they completed each module.  Employees will be enrolled in the Cortex curriculum after November 28, 2022.

What are the consequences for non-compliance?

The Hennepin Healthcare Health Equity Compass Program is considered equivalent to Hennepin Healthcare's Annual Required Training (ART).  Failure to comply with the requirements is subject to escalation and will have the same consequences as when employees fail to complete ART.  If an employee will be out for an extended period, please contact Gao Vang at

Who will be tracking compliance?

Each group going through the Compass Program will be assigned a specific Health Equity Educator who will track compliance.  The Health Equity Project Manager will be working closely with the educators for overall tracking of Compass Program progression.

Will leaders be notified if an employee is non-compliant?

Compliance will be reported at the end of every module, which is every 3 months.  Leaders will be notified which employee is out of compliance with the due date.  Just like with ART, employees are subject to corrective action if they do not meet the requirements of the section every 3 months.

Is this time in addition to their scheduled hours?  Can they go into overtime to complete the training?

Yes.  The time used to complete the training program is an addition to an employee's scheduled hours, which may put employees into overtime.  We ask that managers work with their team members to determine the best time for them to complete the trainings for the month, whether that be in addition to their scheduled hours or if that is fitting the time in during scheduled hours, using the pay code that is established.

Will salaried employees be paid for their time to participate?

Salaried employees are to fit in 3 hours a month to complete the Compass program.  Salaried employees should work with their leaders to best manage their time to allow for participation.

Do salaried employees need to report the time they spend in the course?

No. Instead of reporting their time through their timesheet, salaried employees will need to attest that they have successfully completed each module in Cortex.

Do we physically meet in a classroom or is it online?

There are options for both in-person or virtual instructor led trainings.  Please log into Cortex to choose which format best fits you.

If online, do we take the online course at our department computers while in view of the public?

It is best to find a private space as the virtual instructor led trainings will interactive.

Do we need microphones on the computer?

Yes, virtual instructor led trainings will have breakout sessions where your participation will be important.

Will we get an email confirming our scheduled class dates?

Yes, once you sign up through Cortex and choose which time fits you best, you'll receive an email confirmation with details included, including an Outlook calendar invite.

Does our supervisor get an email with our scheduled dates so he/she can cover our shifts?

No, your leader will not automatically receive the time slots you choose for your instructor led training. Please email and notify your leader of the time you have selected for each instructor led training.

What is a Credly?

As staff complete the Compass Program, they will receive a Credly badge to honor their accomplishment. There is a badge that can be earned for each module completed and each module elevating one’s skills and knowledge. Employees who have completed all activities for module 1 and marked the attestation in Cortex will receive a digital version of the Attendee badge. More information about the Credly badges will be shared in a monthly newsletter that goes out to all current participants in the Compass Program.

What are the badges:

  1. Electronic badges that signal to others the acquired certain skills and knowledge.
  2. Individuals can share their badge on social media accounts such as LinkedIn to showcase their accomplishment.
  3. Click on each badge to find out the skills and accomplishments associated with each level.

Employees will receive an email sometime next week from Credly inviting them to claim their badge. There is no fee for this service - only added benefits like:

  • Easily manage, share, and verify your learning achievements
  • Secure verification adds credibility to your achievement

What happens next?

  • Employees will receive an external email from “Hennepin Healthcare via Credly” inviting them to accept their badge.
  • Click the “Accept your badge” button in the email.
  • Click Create Account and use the HHRI email to create a Credly account, if an account is not set up already.
  • Accept the badge and start sharing!

Increased Inclusion of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in HHRI Annual Performance Reviews

Beginning in 2022, HHRI will expand the annual performance review to include appraisal of diversity, equity, and inclusion related activities. Diversity, equity, and inclusion domains will include:

  • Support for diverse individuals through modifies personal behavior
  • Support for diverse individuals by being an ally in public/private settings
  • Work to improve workforce diversity for faculty, staff, and training
  • Work to improve health equity for patients or research participants
  • Mentorship or sponsorship to promote workforce diversity of health equity
  • Work at the regional/national level to improve workforce diversity or health equity

HHRI's update to the annual performance review to include an appraisal of diversity, equity, and inclusion related activities is informed by and modeled after the article "Changing the Face of Academic Medicine: An Equity Action Plan for Institutions" by Felicity T Enders et al.

The article can be downloaded and read in full here.

Small Business Administration requirement

Along with the many other requirements for federal funding like effort tracking and annual progress reports is the requirement to work with small businesses when possible.  The Small Business Administration ( is a government funded organization designed to help new businesses grow.  One way it does this is by encouraging other government agencies and organizations to support small businesses: particularly disadvantaged, women-owned, minority-owned and veteran business owners.

In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services ( signed a partnership agreement with the SBA committing to that mission.  The DHHS then updated its code of federal regulations, the governing document for all its institutions, to outline how non-Federal entities (like HHRI) should ensure small and minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms are given equal and fair opportunities.  This CFR, 75.330, states that:

- These businesses should be on a company's solicitation list
- These businesses should be solicited whenever appropriate
- Bigger tasks and work orders should be split into smaller chunks to increase the number of involved businesses
- Delivery schedules should not inhibit or disqualify these smaller businesses from consideration
- When appropriate the entity should collaborate with the SBA, Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD), and Minority Business Development Agency of the Department of Commerce for guidance
- In addition to work for hire, steps one through five must be followed when determining federal subcontractors

Some individual institutions within the DHHS will have more specific goals and methods they require their contractors and grantees to follow.  These guidelines will be detailed in any contract or Funding Opportunity Announcement.  Please keep in mind that some institutional programs may have specific aims and requirements beyond that institution’s general approach of making small businesses a priority.  That information will be included in any program announcement or funding guidelines.

HHRI, as an entity receiving federally funded grants and contracts through multiple DHHS agencies, follows these rules in a number of ways:

  • The Business Expense Guideline's purchasing policy mirrors CFR 75.330.
  • The travel agent we contract through, A1 Travel, is women owned.
  • Staples, our office supplies company, will note on their website when a supplier meets the definition of the small business administration (disadvantaged, women-, or minority-owned).
  • In addition, any subcontracts pursued by Principal Investigators and Grant Administrators are done so with these principles in mind.

Always choose the supplier or subcontractor who is most qualified; however, each option should be given consideration based on their ability.

What does this mean for you?

  • Continue following HHRI’s institutional policies regarding purchasing
  • Include disadvantaged and women, veteran, or minority owned businesses in your review of potential vendors
  • And when you're making purchases consider keeping it small to allow for opportunities to more businesses.


Working list of SBA Vendors

If you have questions about the Small Business Administration or suggestions of businesses to add, email us at


  • Same Day transcription


  • A1 Travel
  • The Advent Talent Group

Other small businesses

  • Advarra
  • mSoftware
  • SixTen Solutions

  • Contact the Office of Equity in Research

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  • This field is optional and not required to submit your comments. However, if your comment relates to the availability of the Frontlines of Racism training then please provide your email so we can contact you about scheduling a session.
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