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We’re proud to celebrate Women’s History Month throughout the month of March as well as International Women’s Day (March 8), a day to focus on equality, resilience and achievements of women.
The theme of Women’s History Month this year is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”
We’re sharing Providence caregiver Chrys Nguyen’s story, who sees parallels of her own journey with those of the Sisters, whose vision became Providence.
Today, Providence is a $24 billion organization that employs more than 120,000 caregivers across America, in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington. We’re also an organization founded by women 160 years ago that has grown to serve millions of people in need every year. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and the theme of celebrating women who tell our stories, we pay homage to the history of Providence: a past that is rich with tales of American women leading the way in providing care and support in our communities.
Providence was started by a small group of Sisters of Providence who built hospitals, schools and orphanages across the American West – institutions that have since expanded to serve communities across five states.
These courageous, pioneering women deserve much of the credit for establishing health care and social services in the western United States throughout American history. To the thousands of caregivers in our communities, our founders are an inspiration for the healing love we bring to our patients. They’re also a source of motivation to act against inequality and injustice.
Committing to our community
With a 70% female workforce and an executive leadership team that is also predominantly women, Providence is committed to providing opportunities for women to grow and advance as leaders within the system. That commitment cannot simply be lip service. It also must extend to all aspects of how we work and how we serve our patients.
As we shared with the United Nations during a summit on the UN’s sustainable development goal around empowering women and girls, women are the key to our vision of health for a better world. Women are often the ones who are primarily responsible for the health of children, spouses and aging parents. It’s one more reason Providence is raising the bar in supporting women and the contributions of women throughout our system and in the communities we serve:
- Providence SoCal Diversity & Inclusion Council (SoCal D&I) is working to build appreciation for cultural traditions, including by starting conversations to help educate caregivers about different cultures to create a more welcoming, equitable and inclusive environment. These activities deepen our ability to provide compassionate care and honor human dignity.
- Our caregivers are committed to doing our part to stop human trafficking. For many victims of human trafficking, 65% of whom are women, their only encounter with the outside world is when they need to get health care. Our caregivers have gone through extensive training to recognize the signs of human trafficking to bring these people to safety.
- Providence is relentlessly focused on women’s health during pregnancy and childbirth and is working hard to reverse the alarming trend of mothers dying in labor in the United States.
- Our system was named in 2022’s “150 top places to work in healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review. Our team has also done extensive work around our “Not Here” movement – Providence’s response to Me Too to root out harassment of any kind.
A call to action this March
This Women’s History Month, we look back on the stories of our founders, the Sisters of Providence and the stories of women, specifically that of Chrysanthemum (Chrys) Nguyen, whose family immigrated to the United States from Vietnam shortly after the Vietnam War. She serves as shared services, human resources business partner at Providence St. Joseph Health, and sees parallels of her own beliefs, values and journey with those of the Sisters whose vision became Providence.
“My family’s experiences and my parents’ teachings remind me of the Sisters of Providence. Both had the courage to face the challenges put in front of them head on. They were pioneers, advocates, dreamers and teachers. While my family did not set out to change the world, both had a sense of mission and vision for the future. Their story inspires me to be bold and pursue authenticity with humility and simplicity.”
“I choose to manifest a life that brings me inner peace and connection to a larger purpose. I see parallels with Providence’s values and commitment to the community with my own, and this alignment gives me an opportunity to fulfill my purpose that was instilled by my parents. This is why I believe I was called to Providence.”
These brave women had to seek out support, skills and resources to build the systems of care their communities have been counting on for more than a century. As we recognize women who tell our stories, we recognize that we all have a role in amplifying these strong women’s voices year-round. How are you sharing our heritage and passing on these stories?
“This month, we celebrate the achievements of women in many spheres,” says Nguyen. We still have a long way to go as a society toward the equal and loving world we’re striving for, but we will never give up.
Chrysanthemum (Chrys) Nguyen, human resources business partner, Providence St. Joseph Health.
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