Words banned at CDC were also banned at other HHS agencies: report


Words banned at CDC were also banned at other HHS agencies: report

Multiple agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have reportedly been told by the Trump administration that they cannot use certain phrases in official documents.

Officials from two HHS agencies, who asked that their names and agencies remain anonymous, told The Washington Post that they had been given a list of “forbidden” words similar to the one given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A second HHS agency was told not to use the phrases “entitlement,” “diversity” and “vulnerable,” in documents. It was also told to use “ObamaCare” as opposed to the “Affordable Care Act” and to refer to “marketplaces,” where people purchase health insurance, as “exchanges.”

The Post’s new report builds on its Friday report that the CDC had been told it could no longer use the phrases “evidence-based” and “science-based” in documents being prepared for the 2019 budget.

The list of “forbidden” words and phrases given to policy analysts at the CDC also included “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender” and “fetus.”

The Health and Human Services Department has pushed back on the first report.

“The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd told The Hill on Saturday.

“HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions,” the statement continued.

According to the Post, similar guidance on word choice has been issued at the State Department. Employees at the State Department have been told to call sex education “sexual risk avoidance,” which primarily refers to abstinence-only education.

The Trump administration has been repeatedly scrutinized for declining to acknowledge scientific findings, particularly related to climate change. Trump has also repeatedly expressed doubts about the scientific consensus that humans are the main cause of a warming planet. Numerous members of his administration and his appointees have also denied aspects of the scientific consensus related to global warming.







Stop Hiring for Cultural Fit and Start Hiring For Cultural Fitness


Culture is the glue that brings a team or organization together. But if the glue is too sticky it can make them stuck instead of making them stay together. Cultural fit can become a limitation rather than a strength.

Which takes me to the topic of hiring the right talent for your organization:

Do you hire people that are a cultural fit?

Or do you hire to improve your culture fitness?

Culture is something dynamic

The notion that people can or can’t fit into a specific culture is, to at least some extent, at odds with the fluid teams organizational structure. Cultural fit as an operating requirement not only forces new employees to adapt but, also hinders your culture’s ability to be influenced by outsiders. It limits its ability to grow.

When interviewing people, I do care about cultural fit,  but I also look for culture disruption. As I like to tell candidates: “I want you to be influenced by our culture but, most importantly, I want you to challenge and influence our culture too.”

Cultural dynamics involve an ongoing struggle between old and new elements. If you only stick to what fits your existing culture, your organization will get stuck. Yet, if you only care about the new shining object, you might be throwing away core elements of your culture just for the sake of change.

Before practicing any competitive sports, we need to prepare our body. We stretch our muscles and warm up, not just to avoid injuries, but also to make sure we can play to our highest potential.

The same is true when confronting change. Just like with sports, you need to stretch your organizational culture. It needs to prepare, to warm up, to be ready to adapt to an ever-changing world.

Hire for cultural fitness

When evaluating candidates, choose those that will make your team grow. Stretch your culture by hiring people who will make it more adaptive, experimental and resilient.

Here are some considerations when hiring for cultural fitness:

  • Amplify your team’s perspective:Hire people with diverse backgrounds, skills and personalities to avoid biases and so you are drinking something more inspiring and refreshing than your own corporate Kool-Aid.
  • Encourage teams to dissent:Promote differences and tensions, not just affection. Dissent is not comfortable for everyone, but is the only way to avoid group thinking and stretch your team beyond its comfort zone.
  • Continuously challenge your culture: Hire opinionated people, hire outsiders or hire from outside your industry. Bring someone with the right talent, but goes against your culture. Shaking things up from time to time will keep your culture in good shape. As I wrote here, misfits are the best option for energizing a team.
  • Promote diversity of thinking not just demographic diversity: Train your team to embrace difference of opinions. The more heterogeneous the members, the more interesting and productive the team. Being more open to people from different walks of life will provide fresh eyes and make the team smarter. It will help solve for the “demographic” diversity needed too but with a purpose.

Diversity takes training

The real problem behind diversity is that teams are not trained to deal with differences of opinions. Managers and team members alike have been trained to think and behave the same: the corporate way. People are expected to accommodate rather than to challenge the status quo.

One of the key issues of bringing “diverse” people to a team is that they see things differently. They challenge things through their fresh eyes. And not every organization and manager can swallow that.

Here are some points to help embrace diversity to improve cultural fitness.

  • Diverse means different not inferior: Conversations around diversity need to shift from quota to curiosity. Instead of thinking how we can provide a certain demographic with opportunity — a hierarchical approach — we need to ask what we can we learn from people that are different from us. Diversity is about becoming better at interacting with those who can provide fresh eyes and challenge the way we operate.
  • Quotas limit rather than provide opportunities: Establishing percentages to have representation from different sectors might come from a place of good intention. But, in most cases, it misses the point — the need to create a balanced team. I’ve seen many companies that use quotas, simply to check the box and appear to be a good corporate citizen. But they have little commitment to embracing diversity of thinking.
  • People are more than a demographic: Being part of a minority (age, gender, sex preference, etc.) is just one aspect of any person. Our identity is more complex than our religious or sexual preferences. Those do play an important role. But who we are is a composite of multiple factors: our origin, experience and dreams. Organizations need to encourage their teams to see people beyond their demographics.
  • Encourage transparent conversations:Trust is the basis in which all emotional transactions are done. And is one of the most powerful elements to keep culture alive. Conversations around diversity are still too controlled. Organizations need to discuss these things more openly. Help people realize we are all different, not just those who don’t belong to our tribe. Creating experiences where people can share their journey or their personal hobbies and passions can definitely spark curiosity and show how that everyone can learn from each other. Creating a culture of transparency can help reposition diversity as learning.

Why cultural fitness matters to me

Everyone can learn (almost) anything. And anyone can adapt to any corporate culture. It can be hard or tough but smart people always adapt.

What I care the most, is how a new hire can help make our organization smarter. This is my checklist of what I look for:

  • They are smart and talented
  • They possess the ability to adapt to change
  • They are genuine and have a voice of their own
  • They are open to learn
  • They are generous rather than selfish

If they score well in the above, then they will definitely help our culture stretch, regardless if they are – today — the right cultural fit.

One last thing. I always like to ask candidates: “What are you bringing to the table that is unique?” Basically, I want to know not just what that person is good at but how they will help make our organization smarter. I want people who will build and strengthen our cultural fitness.

1K docs, nurses urge Cleveland Clinic to cancel fundraiser at Trump resort


Photo: Inside the Mar-a-Lago, courtesy of The Mar-a-Lago Club website.

More than 1,100 doctors, nurses and medical students are urging the Cleveland Clinic to cancel an annual fundraiser planned at a resort owned by President Donald Trump in the wake of his executive order on immigration.

Over the last three days, 1,141 medical professionals have signed an open letter to Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Toby Cosgrove asking him to cut the perceived ties to Trump in light of the executive order that led to a first-year internal medicine resident at the organization being detained and forced to return to Saudi Arabia because her visa was issued in Sudan, one of the countries on Trump’s list

Suha Abushamma, M.D., has sued the Trump administration, CNBC reports, and a federal judge has ordered the White House to explain why she shouldn’t be allowed to return to the United States.

The ban also had a direct impact on nine patients scheduled to receive care at the Cleveland Clinic over the next 90 days.

Many of the medical professionals who signed the letter are students at Case Western Reserve University, which runs the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

The letter asks Cosgrove to:

  • Reschedule the lavish fundraiser planned at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida
  • Release a public statement that condemns the immigration ban
  • Pledge to use his power to protect Cleveland Clinic employees from deportation and allow patients to continue to receive care
  • Emphasize that Cleveland Clinic values diversity and relies on immigrants to provide medical care

Top 7 leadership deficiencies in healthcare



4 Tips for Keeping Politics Out of Staff Conversations


Image result for 4 Tips for Keeping Politics Out of Staff Conversations

Avoiding divisive topics can help maintain workplace morale during a contentious election season—and afterward.

Top 7 leadership deficiencies in healthcare



The changing face of healthcare leadership


Despite all the change health plans are facing today, there’s one key way of measuring leaders’ effectiveness that won’t change: Profitability.

Health plan executives will be evaluated based on the sustainability of their businesses during a time when profit margins are tight. They’ll also be measured based on their ability to retain employees and maintain current local relationships. Health plans will be investing in a lot of new talent. That means that leaders will be measured on their ability to grow their teams, while maintaining deep relationships in the communities where they’re doing business.

Medical schools of the future



Bernard Tyson, Kaiser Permanente CEO, shares his plan to reshape the way physicians are educated and improve diversity in the medical community.