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Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)

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History of Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging at Billings Clinic

Like many healthcare organizations, we have long had individual providers who have specialized in care for diverse populations and had diversity amongst our own employees. More formally, in 2017 Billings Clinic began participating in the Health Equality Index, a national LGBTQ benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors, and employees. In 2020, Billings Clinic created a department and hired a director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. In 2022, a second staff member was added to the department with a focus on education of and outreach to our Native American communities. We recognize our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging work is a journey and are committed to ongoing work.

Our Commitment

Billings Clinic is committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, for our patients, their families, and our teammates. It is the policy of Billings Clinic that persons are given appropriate admission and access to health care services and employment without regard to race, color, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or gender expression. We also recognize and respect the rights of each patient. Billings Clinic is committed to assuring and protecting patient rights at all times.

Employee Engagement with DEIB Efforts

Billings Clinic offers several formal committees and councils to engage in our strategic movement forward in our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging work for our teammates.

  • The DEIB Advisory Council is a group of 15 members from across Billings Clinic that focus on strategic opportunities organization-wide to enhance our DEIB work. This group often focuses on equity across Billings Clinic, including changes to policies, procedures, and recommendations for best practices to enhance DEIB system-wide.
  • The LGBTQ+ Committee actively works to enhance LGBTQ+ patient care. The group completes our bi-annual Health Equality Index report, and works to remove barriers and improve processes for LGBTQ+ patients. This committee is open to any Billings Clinic employee and meets monthly.
  • The D&I Education Committee provides educational opportunities related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. From online learning, to huddle conversation topics, to formal training, this group from across Billings Clinic works together to provide ongoing education, as we are all learners. This committee is open to any Billings Clinic employee and meets monthly.

DEIB Work in the Community

  • Billings Chamber of Commerce
    • Sponsor and participate in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Implementation Workshop and Network
    • Participate in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Network
    • Provide DEI education at NextGen and Leadership Billings
  • 406 Pride
    • Annual sponsor of Billings Pride
  • Mayor and MSUB’s World Language Dinner
    • Presenting Sponsor
  • Girls and Science
    • Sponsor and facilitate relationships between the girls and professional women in scientific disciplines
  • Eagle Mount events
    • Donation to support enhancement and equity for persons living with disabilities
  • ZONTA club
    • Donated time and funds to support the advancement of women through education, economic stability, legal and legislative equality and health and wellness.
  • Downtown Billings Alliance
    • Donation of funding to help further education and equal housing accessibility
  • Healthy By Design Coalition
    • Partner and Co-founder of coalition. Work addresses underinsured and underserved populations to promote health equity.
  • CoC housing coalition
    • Member of CoC housing efforts to increase housing access

Resources and Links

406 Pride – The Billings-based 406 Pride’s mission is to use education and outreach to work with the diverse populations of Montana to build unity, acceptance, and fellowship and to ensure that LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and throughout the community. The group hosts monthly events, quarterly volunteer outings, and ongoing educational programs.

Billings Chamber of Commerce – The Billings Chamber of Commerce advocates for policies that will benefit local businesses, the community, and the quality of life. The Billings Chamber DEI Network offers resources for member organizations to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the work environment within the Billings-area.

Billings Urban Indian Health and Wellness Center – (BUIHWC) fosters an environment of cultural competency, respecting the values of both team members and customers. Guided by our commitment to collaborative care strategies, we strive to provide the knowledge, experiences, and community access that will empower customers to take steps towards healing. Our Vision: To create a model of premier health and wellness services; increasing life expectancy through accessible, culturally appropriate health care.

Bureau of Indian Affairs - The Rocky Mountain Region provides services to 8 tribes in Montana and Wyoming encompassing a trust surface land base of about 6,456,000 acres. There are about 74,677 enrolled tribal members within the Region. The Regional Office is located in southeastern Montana in the city of Billings.

Children’s Hospital Colorado TRUE Center for Gender Diversity – The TRUE Center for Gender Diversity is the only comprehensive care center in the Rocky Mountain region specifically set up for gender-diverse children, adolescents and young adults. Services provided include hormone therapy, consultation with therapists, referral programs and assistance with legal name change and gender marker change.

Indian Health Service - The Billings Area Indian Health Service (IHS) provides Public Health, Environmental Health, Health care services and community-based disease prevention services to more than 70,000 American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people in Montana and Wyoming. These services are delivered through six IHS-operated Service Units, two tribally operated health departments, and five Urban Indian health programs, administratively supported by a regional office located in downtown Billings, Montana. Our mission is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of AI/AN to the highest level possible.

Montana United Indian Association - Mission: Promote social and economic self-sufficiency for American Indian, Alaska Native & Native Hawaiian people in off-reservation counties of Montana. To promote, foster, and encourage programs for the general welfare, education, and social benefit of American Indians. To establish and maintain education, cultural, economic, and recreational programs for American Indians. To eliminate barriers of discrimination of race, religion, gender, and to educate and broaden the knowledge of the American public on Indian issues and culture. Regarding its unique positive contributions to American Society.

Mayo Clinic, Office of Diversity and Inclusion – Mayo Clinic is committed to creating a caring service environment while ensuring that individual differences are valued at every level of the organization. Their mission is to be recognized by patients, employees, peer institutions and the community as the leading model for diversity and inclusion. Billings Clinic participates in the Mayo Clinic Network for DEI.

Native American Development Corporation - The intent of the organization is to act as a liaison for state, regional, national and international economic development organizations and agencies for American Indian owned businesses in Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota. As a hub for American Indian businesses, NADC provides technical assistance in the creation and operation of reservation-based Community Development Corporations, empowering communities toward economic and social stability. NADC assists in creating and administering loan funds to finance American Indian entrepreneurs and establish economic infrastructure on reservations. NADC also provides educational information for tribal governments in the areas of economic and technology development. NADC and NADC PTAC continue to provide technical and resource assistance to American Indian owned businesses in the areas of capital, partnerships, marketing and federal contracting, respectively.

Office of Civil Rights – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces federal civil rights laws, conscience and religious freedom laws, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, and the Patient Safety Act and Rule, which together protect your fundamental rights of nondiscrimination, conscience, religious freedom, and health information privacy.

Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council - MISSION: To preserve our homelands, defend rights of the Indian Treaties with the United States, speak in a unified voice, offer support to our people, offer a forum in which to consult each other and enlighten each other about our peoples, and to otherwise promote the common welfare of all the Indian Peoples of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. VISION: Healthy, prosperous and strong Tribal communities for our Tribal people living in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. GOAL: To create an environment conducive to change within our communities by cultivating positive collaborative efforts with a sense of purpose by building strong, healthy societies where respect and honor is a way of life.

Western Native Voice - Our Purpose: We inspire Native leadership so our communities’ flourish. Our Mission: To foster positive social change in our communities through leadership development, education, engagement, and public policy advocacy. Our Vision: Engaging Native Americans in building political and personal power to address local community challenges. We support and encourage Native community members to step up and be a voice for their families and communities through the civic engagement process and public policies that affect their lives and well-being. We strive for a world absent of discrimination and inequality, where every human has equal access to safety and success.

DEIB Staff Features

Sara Agostinelli, Ed.D. 

Sara was born and raised in Montana, including living in Billings for five years as a kid. After graduating high school in Great Falls, she earned her BA in Electronic Media from St. Catherine University, her MA in Education from Washington State University, and her EdD in Educational Leadership from the University of Montana. She worked for both Washington State University and Loyola Marymount University before returning home to Montana to work for the University of Montana. Sara then joined the Gender Relations Center at the University of Notre Dame, where she worked until joining Billings Clinic in April 2021. In her free time, Sara enjoys quilting, doing projects around her house, and spending time with her three dogs. 

Josiah Hugs 

Josiah Hugs

Josiah is a member of the Apsaalooke Nation, Crow Tribe and was raised in the Arrow Creek District of the Crow Reservation, Pryor, MT.  Josiah graduated from Billings Central Catholic High School in 2001 and furthered his education at MSU-Billings and graduated with a BS in Psychology.  Josiah has spent time in numerous community outreach and prevention roles.  In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Taleshia, drawing with his kids and watching his children play sports. 

Welcome to Billings Clinic

Welcome to Billings Clinic

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