June 3, 2020

As a health system and the largest employer in Central Oregon, we want you to know we stand with our communities for equity and inclusion of all.

Our nation is hurting – and we know that many of you are hurting as well.

We can’t stay silent and simply watch the news of the past week. It is critical that you know we do not tolerate racism. We do not tolerate violence. We do not tolerate ignorance of these issues.

It is time to do better.

St. Charles has a more than 100-year legacy that started with a brave group of nuns declaring they would care for all or care for none. However, although we strive to provide health care to all those in need – we know disparities continue to exist for many of the populations we serve.

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has put a spotlight on this issue by disproportionately affecting communities of color throughout the nation. In Oregon, our African American, Hispanic and American Indian populations have been hit as well – we are not immune.

St. Charles should be a safe place for all regardless of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation or ability to pay. While we have taken some positive steps – including our cultural care programs in Madras and our sexual orientation and gender identity workgroup – we know it is just the beginning of an ongoing journey to learn and to improve upon our own understandings and practices.

We as a St. Charles leadership team vow to investigate where our organization may be falling short, to engage in conversations with our diverse populations, to listen, learn and improve. We also commit to educating ourselves to better understand these issues through diversity training and will continue to look for opportunities to better reflect our communities.

We owe it to the communities we serve — and ourselves — to do the important work of really understanding each other. Now is the time to see our differences from one another and not fear them, but instead embrace and learn from them.

We must do better.

Please, take this moment to check in with your fellow caregivers. Ask them how they are doing and what they are feeling. Connect with and support each other through these turbulent times.

Remember, when people are in pain, our job is to heal.


St. Charles Executive Care Team

Joe Sluka, Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Absalon, Chief Physician Executive
Jenn Welander, Chief Financial Officer
Iman Simmons, Chief Operating Officer
Darren Binder, Chief Legal and Risk Officer
Rod Marchiando, SVP Improvement and Strategy
Jim Guyn, SVP Population Health
Jeremiah Brickhouse, Chief Information Officer
Pam Steinke, Chief Nursing Executive
Rebecca Berry, VP Human Resources