When the demonstrations against racial discrimination in the U.S. took place in 2020, Khalil Thomas asked himself: What can we do to address this issue?
Khalil Thomas has always wanted to work in healthcare. “I always wanted to join a company that helps to make the world a better place”, explains Thomas with a smile. He is currently the head of Quality Management for the Siemens Healthineers Ultrasound business, which is headquartered in the U.S.
When demonstrations against the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by Minneapolis police, spread across the U.S. last summer, Khalil Thomas, head of Quality Management for the Siemens Healthineers Ultrasound business headquartered in the U.S., saw this as an opportunity to further the conversations around racial equity at Siemens Healthineers. He wanted to expand the company’s commitment to addressing these issues in tangible ways.
George Floyd wasn’t the first unarmed Black person to be killed by the police. However, his death shifted conversations around race and policing, causing organizations across the country to think deeper about their commitment to racial justice, racial equity, and diversity.
“Diversity doesn’t happen by accident," says Thomas. “It takes dedication, commitment, and strategy.”
Siemens Healthineers has several Employee Resource Groups. As an executive sponsor of the Siemens Healthineers Employees of African Descent (SEAD), Thomas, along with other members of SEAD, was already promoting cultural awareness and diversity at Siemens Healthineers. They were also working with leadership to create opportunities for Black employees to grow and develop professionally.
The SEAD group's focus is on employees and communities of African descent and is open to all employee who share a common concern for the issues and goals of this demographic. (stock photo)
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Siemens Healthineers condemned racial discrimination and injustice. However, Thomas wanted to push the company even further. In addition to a virtual commemoration of Juneteenth  for employees and a series of virtual Courageous Conversations , part of the SEAD strategy included working with the Siemens Healthineers U.S. leadership team to host a townhall that dived deeper into racial equity in the workplace.
The virtual townhall included members of SEAD, the executive leadership, and 1,000 Siemens Healthineers employees. The panel discussed how the murder of George Floyd impacted them, the ways they can leverage their roles to support racial equity, and concrete steps Siemens Healthineers can take to further diversity and inclusion.
Some of the resulting actions included the formation of a Racial Equity steering committee that will explore more opportunities for increased unconscious bias training, developing a more diverse supplier base, and creating partnerships with organizations and institutions that will help Siemens Healthineers develop a more diverse talent pipeline.
The virtual panel for Racial Equity in the Workplace in July 2020 was a demonstration of courage and commitment.
Siemens Healthineers will partner with organizations across the U.S. to create mentorship and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) opportunities for underserved and underrepresented communities. Additionally, Siemens Healthineers is looking for opportunities to address healthcare disparities among people of color, which links back to their core mission of providing healthcare solutions that make a true difference to customers and patients.
All colleagues should understand why diversity is important and the value that it has for our company.
Head of Quality Management Ultrasound, Siemens Healthineers, U.S.
“We are a healthcare organization, and we have the reach, the size, and the partners to move the needle on this,” says Thomas. It is a huge undertaking, but it is one of the biggest commitments Siemens Healthineers can make to end discrimination as well as healthcare disparities in the Black community.