Last Mile Health CEO Lisha McCormick sent the following reflections to Last Mile Health staff on March 8, 2021 on behalf of International Women’s Day 2021.
Growing up, my grandmother had a saying: “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” My grandmother, whom I called my Nana, was the child of first generation French-German immigrants to the United States. She helped to raise me, emphasizing the importance of hard work, kindness to others, and never shying away from an opportunity to learn. Though my Nana passed in 2005, I’ve held her encouraging voice in my mind every time I’ve taken on a new challenge.
I am who I am today because of my grandmother. As we celebrate this International Women’s Day, I recall my Nana and feel pride in being her granddaughter.
In my identity as Last Mile Health’s CEO, I could share flowery words to celebrate today—but I’d rather communicate how Last Mile Health’s actions will continue to meaningfully advance our commitment to gender equity. At Last Mile Health, we will:
- Commit to pay equity. Over the past quarter, Last Mile Health has undertaken a robust process to review our compensation strategy and compensation model. Over the next quarter, you can expect to learn more about our commitment to equity in our compensation policy and practice.
- Integrate gender mainstreaming in our program design to ensure our programs serve and benefit women, both as patients and healthcare providers. We’re being earnest in identifying where our programming is not always serving women as well as we’d like—and we’re taking steps to improve.
- Advocate relentlessly for CHWs as paid professionals. Women comprise 70% of the global health workforce globally—and far too many are going unpaid or underpaid for their work. The unpaid contributions of women in healthcare globally—including women serving as frontline and community health workers—totals $1.5 trillion USD annually. The World Health Organization has now been clear that CHWs should be paid for their life-saving services, so Last Mile Health will continue to work tirelessly in areas of health systems financing and advocacy to make this recommendation a reality.
- Elevate women’s voices and leadership. Over the coming months, we will improve our commitments to creating environments that are inclusive and better acknowledge power dynamics, in order to create safer spaces for women (especially women of color) and our diversity, equity, and inclusion allies to fully bring their talents and vital perspectives forward. We will also look to elevate the voices of women and frontline leaders in external forums and to global audiences.
I urge all of us to use this day to not only acknowledge the women in our lives, but also to commit to action—each and every day—to ensure women the world over are afforded the opportunity to live their full potential.