Careers Blog Home > Black History Month 2024: Honoring Black Excellence in Healthcare and the Arts

Black History Month 2024: Honoring Black Excellence in Healthcare and the Arts

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Foundation Medicine proudly celebrates Black History Month as a time to honor the rich heritage, achievements and contributions of the Black community. Throughout the month, we featured various spotlights, educational sessions and activities organized by our Black, African and Hispanic Alliance (BAHA) Employee Resource Network. BAHA supports our goals to address issues that affect communities of color, promote cultural awareness and reinforce diversity, equity and inclusion in every aspect of our work. We are committed to fostering a culture of belonging that honors the Black community and celebrates diversity all year long. 

In the spirit of collaboration and unity, our Employee Resource Networks (ERN) came together to curate a series of spotlights highlighting historic figures from the Black community that left their mark on U.S. History. The Veteran’s Service ERN (FMI Vets) highlighted Carl Brashear, the first African American Master Diver in the U.S. Navy that overcame numerous obstacles and became a symbol of perseverance. UPLIFT, our ERN focused on supporting women, chose Shirley Chisolm, the first Black woman elected to the US Congress in 1968 and the only woman sworn in that year. The PROUD ERN chose Barbara Jordan, a lawyer, congresswoman and scholar who was also one of the first African American and LGBTQ+ women elected to Congress in 1972. BAHA highlighted oncologist and humanitarian Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, a senior flight surgeon who served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 36 years. She was the first woman physician to rise to the rank of brigadier general and was a driving force in addressing cancer disparities. These incredible figures serve as powerful examples of Black leaders whose legacies continue to inspire us. 

 

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One of the main events of our Black History Month was the panelist speaker presentation titled “Lived Experiences of Healthcare Providers” featuring two esteemed healthcare professionals in oncology: Nicole T. Tasker, APN FNP-BC and Samantha Charles, DNP APRN FNP-BC. Nicole provides extensive care to gynecology oncology patients and Samantha specializes in comprehensive care for gastrointestinal oncology patients. The panelists candidly shared their personal experiences in the field and examined critical topics such as healthcare inequities for people of color and the effects of various disparities: financial, environmental, socioeconomic, cultural and structural. This presentation also shed light on Foundation Medicine’s proactive efforts to address health equity challenges. Our initiatives include leveraging our unique data sets to inform health equity research and promoting awareness of Foundation Medicine’s testing services while addressing obstacles to access. These valuable insights spark meaningful conversations that can help drive positive change in healthcare equity. 

 

 

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, employees across our Boston, Cambridge, San Diego and Research Triangle Park sites came together to celebrate the importance of community through a special letter-writing activity. Throughout the week, employees wrote messages of joy and gratitude in support of Letters Against Isolation, an organization that aims to bring comfort to the elderly in our communities. Additionally, in RTP and San Diego, employees had the opportunity to enjoy delicious treats from local Black-owned bakeries. This initiative was an important reminder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s timeless message, “everybody can be great … because anybody can serve.” 

The theme of this year’s Black History Month activities was “African Americans and the Arts.” BAHA showcased a different Black artist each day of February to celebrate their talent and honor the impact each artist has made on our cultural landscape. BAHA also curated a Spotify playlist and collected and shared recipes of African and African American origin. Lastly, BAHA organized a book club featuring the memoir, “To Free the Captives: A plea for the American Soul” by Tracy K. Smith, “a stunning personal manifesto on memory, family, and history that explores how we in America might, together, come to a new view of our shared past.” These activities were engaging ways to admire and share Black art this month. 

Foundation Medicine’s Black History Month celebration offered meaningful opportunities to learn, reflect and bring our community together as we honored the Black community. We are reminded of the importance of continued collaboration and action towards our year-round goal of fostering belonging for all — within our organization and beyond. 

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