Confronting Racism


Lurie Children’s CEO Thomas Shanley, MD, and Adeola Oduwole, Chief, Diversity and Inclusion

Lurie Children’s strives to fulfill three promises to our patients and community – the promise of a safe space, the promise of a cure and the promise of a healthier future. 

To fulfill our promise, we must mindfully engage in dialogues that confront systemic racism. There can be no healthier future as long as there is racism that contributes to disparate health outcomes in our community and in our country. We are committed to combatting racism and promoting inclusion so that all members of the Lurie Children’s community feel valued, heard and safe and that every child can realize the promise of a healthier future.

“To me, diversity is about having the broadest, most effective representation of human input in everything we do, including diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, ability, age and in every other way that enriches our organization,” said Thomas Shanley, MD, President and CEO of Lurie Children’s. “To that end, we began working last year toward a new institutional framework for diversity, inclusion and equity under the outstanding leadership of Adeola Oduwole, Chief, Diversity and Inclusion, with the support of Valeria Cohran, MD, Associate Chair, Diversity and Inclusion. With their guidance, we are soon to begin hospital-wide implicit bias training, starting with leadership.”

Addressing Systemic Inequities 

Lurie Children's Healthy Communities leaders have also been part of Mayor Lightfoot's COVID-19 Racial Equity Rapid Response team, meeting regularly with community leaders, city officials and public health officials. The important work of this team has been to help flatten the COVID-19 mortality curve in Chicago's Black and Brown communities and build a groundwork for future efforts to address longstanding and systemic inequities. The Provider Subcommittee of this team, led by clinicians from University of Chicago, Rush and our own Dr. Matt Davis, worked with 36 healthcare providers to develop a letter whose goal is to begin to share concrete, unified plans that Chicago's healthcare providers are committing to in addressing racial injustice. Read more.

The "Chicago Healthcare Providers Joint Statement and Commitments to Address Racial Inequity” includes commitments from the top hospitals in the city and region. Lurie Children’s, along with University of Chicago, Northwestern Medicine, Rush, Advocate, as well as many community health centers and smaller hospitals, are committing to look hard at the underlying causes of inequity and put forth solutions to truly provide healthier futures for all in the community.

Signing onto this is only one part of Lurie Children's journey to helping address the systemic inequities in healthcare and how they affect the children we are privileged to serve. We are gathering input and look forward to continuing to share Lurie Children's-specific plans that will include the commitments in this letter as well as others as we move forward.

White Coats for Black Lives

We are proud to take part in the "White Coats for Black Lives" movement. Watch the video of the June 5 event below. 

Play video


See more from WGN-TV

Resources on How to Talk to Kids About Racism

Please refer to the links below for information on educating children about racism. 

Lurie Children's Resources 

Additional Resources