We recognize the health disparities of people of color, people from working class backgrounds, women and LGBTQ people. We believe that the experiences of these communities must be valued in the work we do. We believe that by operating under the principles, values and frameworks below, we are well positioned to do just that.
We aspire to the below with the awareness that this is an ever unfolding process and we will not do it perfectly.
Culture of Feedback
In 2018, Portland Mental Health & Wellness began implementing Feedback Informed Treatment utilizing the ACORN outcome measure. Every patient is invited to complete this form when they check in for their appointment to provide additional feedback to their practitioner about how things are going. We are pursuing implementation of this framework to support clinical work.
However, Feedback Informed Treatment is part of a broader philosophy that we have and continue to implement that we refer to as a Culture of Feedback. Everyone in the organization, from top to bottom, left to right, is invited and supported to give feedback, ask for feedback, and receive feedback. We believe firmly that the insights, observations and ideas from everyone are essential for a healthy organization. What’s more, promoting an environment where everyone can trust that their feedback will be received in good faith is also essential for a healthy organization.
We are human, so we expect that not every instance of giving or receiving feedback, especially critical feedback will go smoothly; we can feel criticized, rejected, or dismissed. Our commitment is to remain in dialogue, no matter the initial response, trusting that if there is feedback to receive, it is important, meaningful, and worth considering and potentially integrating.
We would be remiss to not mention positive feedback and praise; also an integral part of a culture of feedback. Simply being noticed, a thank you, a gentle smile, can make all the difference in the world, especially when times are difficult.
We believe that this philosophy engenders an environment that encourages each of us to seek out opportunities to learn, change, adapt and grow. Inevitably, this cultural norm will positively impact the work we do with our patients.
Kim Scott’s Radical Candor model supports our Culture of Feedback. We make efforts to utilize the Radical Candor model in our internal management practices. The model names and defines four possible attitudes and behaviors in a work organization.
- Care Personally but Remain Silent: I care about you so I don’t want to rock the boat by telling you something you could do better or that I don’t appreciate or Ruinous Empathy
- Lack Care and Remain Silent: I don’t care about you to the extent that I am not willing to give you feedback at all or Manipulative Insincerity
- Lack Care and Challenge Directly: I don’t care about you and I am going to let you know it by being a bully or Obnoxious Aggression
- Care Personally and Challenge Directly: I care about you and I want to be honest and direct about what you could do better or how I am struggling with you or Radical Candor
At Portland Mental Health & Wellness, when a clinical director meets with a practitioner for a quarterly review, the clinical director starts with inviting radically candid feedback from the practitioner. Inevitably this leads to an important dialogue about what is working and what is not for the practitioner. And this first step opens the door for any important feedback the clinical director has for the practitioner. And we will utilize this model to emphasize when we’re on the right track, not just when correction is needed. And this model, congruent with the Culture of Feedback, applies to everyone in the organization, from top to bottom, left and right.
No matter how much a company culture supports feedback and candor, it is still a risk to offer direct feedback. It takes the willingness of the individual to move through fear, which is an act of bravery.
“For those who’ve been most marginalized, there is no such thing as a safe space. And too often, we confuse a safe space with a comfortable space. Learning to sit with each other’s truths means we have to learn to sit with discomfort.” (thepeoplessupper.org).
Institutional power structures exist and can have heavy influence over how individuals and groups feel free or not to show up with all of who they are. When we welcome new employees and trainees to Portland Mental Health & Wellness, we talk about what it means to come into a space with courage knowing that no one else can truly make the space safe on your behalf.
Diversity, Equity, Access & Inclusion Including Anti-Racist Practice
At PMHW, we are dedicated to challenging and dismantling white supremacy culture within our company. We firmly hold ourselves accountable by actively engaging in inquiry and raising awareness about the damaging impact of white supremacy and other oppressive systems in various settings, including our own. We recognize that this is an ongoing process, and we commit to continuously improving our efforts in DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion).
We are proud to create a welcoming and affirming environment that fully supports individuals from diverse backgrounds and core identities. We embrace people of all races, ethnicities, classes, ages, genders, abilities, national origins, immigration statuses, and sexual orientations. We firmly believe that diversity is not just a concept but a reality that enriches our organization. Equity is a conscious choice we make, ensuring that everyone has fair access to opportunities and resources. Inclusion is an active practice we engage in, fostering a sense of belonging for all.
Through these commitments, we aim to foster a workplace culture that rejects the tenets of white supremacy and promotes a more just and equitable society. We recognize that this work is ongoing and that there will always be room for growth and improvement.
As a company founded on and in a primarily white cultural background, we are committed to deconstructing institutional racism, white supremacy, and associated constructs. We are doing this currently by:
- Providing extensive online resources for learning and reflecting to all staff at Portland Mental Health & Wellness.
- Offering bi-weekly BIPOC Employee Meetings that are compensated
- Offering bi-weekly White Identity Development Groups which are not directly compensated
- Engaging in Bi-Monthly Managers & Directors DEAI Meetings focused on learning, reflecting, and developing. This meeting is intentionally not focused on action or policy-making.
- Hiring qualified BIPOC administrative and clinical employees.
- Engaging trainers who can specifically support our clinical staff to address racism, marginalization, and white identity development in clinical work.
- Evaluating and transforming the structure of the company, management, and meeting structures so these may become supportive for the ongoing pursuit of diversity, equity, access and inclusion.
Trauma Informed Practice
We are dedicated to implementing trauma-informed clinical practices and trauma-informed organizational and business practices. This means that we acknowledge the profound impact of trauma and its effects on individuals, particularly those with marginalized identities who face both subtle and overt forms of discrimination. We strive to create an environment that is responsive to the experiences of trauma survivors and to avoid re-traumatization. By incorporating this approach, we aim to foster healing, empowerment, and resilience among our patients, employees, and stakeholders.
Organizational & Individual Humility
The willingness to: accept as an organization we will get it wrong, to embody curiosity, to acknowledge when hurt has been caused, and to seek to listen and learn.