Celebrating Authentic Pride — Built by Empathy at Medigram

Sherri Douville
5 min readJun 30, 2020

Letter by Sherri Douville, Medigram CEO & Board Member

— with input from LGBQT colleagues and advisors

As Pride month comes to a close, we reiterate our commitment at Medigram to continue building a new kind of company where team members feel safe, accepted and proud to help medicine run better in a mobile context. We all benefit from being able to understand and appreciate all of our differences. Even when we don’t agree, we decide to work together to benefit the whole.

Pride month celebrates the progress that’s been made as well as brings attention to the past and current inequities throughout the world for LGBQT persons through discrimination in various ways including in employment. June is Pride Month in many countries, celebrating the value and importance of diversity for the LGBQT community. Pride began 51 years ago with protests and riots at Stonewall in New York City. Then, like now, people were standing up against discrimination and inequality. Standing against discrimination of all forms including unfair, prejudiced and derogatory treatment of any persons is something that is built into the way we work at Medigram.

Just as COVID disproportionately affects some populations and is refocusing our perceptions and definitions of what a working healthcare system is, HIV was a health crisis that disproportionately impacted LGBQT populations leading to more visibility in addressing discrimination in healthcare.

The new flag was created by the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs’ More Color, More Pride campaign and is meant to symbolize the city’s inclusion of people of color in the LGBTQ community.

According to this article in Forbes, “this year, Prides, brands and activists around the world have simultaneously and without any co-ordination, been adopting ‘The Progress Flag’ as their symbol for the community instead.

Designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018, it features black and brown stripes to represent people of colour, and baby blue, pink and white to include the trans flag in its design.”

2021 Update. We live and learn

We want to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the recent SCOTUS ruling from 2020 which protects LGBQT professionals from job discrimination. Their sexual identity and orientation is to be protected under title 7 covering sex protections.

According to Linked in, more than half of LGBTQ+ LinkedIn members say that being “out at work” makes them feel more comfortable and authentic, — — according to recent LinkedIn data.[1]

I’m a huge believer in the value of authenticity in driving professional and organizational performance. What’s more authentic than acknowledging and embracing both privately and professionally — who you love.

Simultaneously, we would be remiss not to recognize that according to Justice Neil Gorsuch, “there are employers who have religious objections” as Justice Gorsuch states in this AP article [2]

For this one example of difference, religion which we need to transcend in healthcare; we’d be unwise not to acknowledge that some stakeholders whose practice of various religions can lend towards conservative views; this has meant that some in the past did not support LGBQT in equal rights.

At the same time, we also have to welcome religiously oriented and cultural conservatives to our workforce and stakeholder ecosystem. We do expect and hold accountable all team members for treating colleagues and stakeholders consistently with our Medigram core value of respect. This needs to be in a way that transcends any personal beliefs or preferences. Operating in one of the most historically culturally conservative sectors in the world — healthcare, we must also ask and expect from progressively minded colleagues to respect any religious or potentially culturally conservative personal views that some number of colleagues and customers may hold; even though these views might diverge from their own. This is while working together to uphold the professional commitment to nondiscrimination including with respect to personal politics.

In each instance, — regarding those preferences whether progressive or conservative on the issue of sexual identity and orientation for examples; professionals at Medigram are expected to seek understanding of the other. As professionals at Medigram, we expect each professional to come to the table with the intent and demonstration of respect with listening and empathy — knowing that our company stands ready to fulfill both the law as well as the business requirements that a modern, diverse workforce requires. We must allow and accept others to hold different, opposing views and respect their freedom to have not just differing views but diverse lifestyles.

While parts of the medical sector and ecosystem remain as individuals opposed to the recent SCOTUS ruling; in many Midwestern, Southern, and East Coast health systems, we find some of the most diverse customer bases; exponentially more diverse than the Western and Coastal tech sector, for example. [3]

We shouldn’t expect for everyone to be the same or exactly like us because that’s not what a winning team looks like in healthcare tech. [4] A winning team is one that transcends their personal and individual differences to make a whole team much greater than the sum of its parts. This is best done when people can be at work fully themselves which is what PRIDE is about. We intend to empower a world where we come together for understanding and working collectively in an optimal way. This is to solve some of healthcare’s hardest challenges such as mobile workflow in medicine and the lifesaving teamwork that’s needed.

What Conservatives, People of Color, and LGBQT people all share is tremendous dependence on compassionate care in health care services across and with respect to their differences. To respect, you have to seek to understand.

“Diversity of perspective helps eliminate organizational blind spots — a truly diverse workforce reduces organizational risk and improves stakeholder outcomes.” — Eric Svetcov CTO/CSO at Medigram

As MLK said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The corollary in medicine is that if we cannot serve everyone without discrimination and with dignity and respect, we serve no one.

The vaccine for discrimination is diversity and is best to be administered early and often.

[1] Court decision changes the landscape of LGBTQ+ protections at work by Andrew Seamans, Linked in https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/court-decision-changes-landscape-lgbtq-protections-work-andrew-seaman/?utm_campaign=ProjectSpark&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&utm_content=Pride-storyline&trk=li_li_global_agency_cultural+moments_linkedin_social_blog%2Flink&linkId=100000013006563

[2] Justices rule LGBT people protected from job discrimination by MARK SHERMAN https://apnews.com/ef3c19a79b65c060fd9e82b9dd87a1d9

[3] 10 large Bay Area tech companies employ no Black women, study finds by Andrew Chamings https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/study-10-big-tech-companies-employ-no-black-women-15360370.php?fbclid=IwAR1fpRxpfigsfABldx0MGqaLGit64FLiy4kMrj-E4ha_mSoVIZlUe6drrhI

[4] Roadmap: 10 Laws of Healthcare by STEVE KRAUS, MORGAN CHEATHAM, ANDREW HEDIN https://www.bvp.com/atlas/roadmap-10-laws-of-healthcare#Law-1-Market-definition-matters

By: Sherri Douville CEO & Board Member at Medigram, Inc.https://www.linkedin.com/in/sdouville/