YNHHS employees, physicians lead diversity and inclusion courses


From left, Alicea, Marshall, Gemmell and Way.

Yale New Haven Health System is fortunate to have staff and physicians who, in addition to their job responsibilities, lead the day-long “Connecting With Others” courses. The free course, open to all employees, teaches five skills to help participants connect with a wider variety of people and improve employee and customer satisfaction and overall performance. Courses are held throughout the health system; visit Employee Self Service and search for “Connecting With Others.”

Meet the health system’s first certified diversity and inclusion trainers, and learn why they got involved in this important work.

Maria Alicea is a diversity and inclusion consultant in YNHHS’ Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and grew up in Bridgeport. She speaks Spanish.

“Diversity is all around us, however, inclusion takes action. As our patients, workforce and the communities we serve become more diverse, it is critical that we leverage diversity and inclusion to better meet our patients’ needs, create a positive, high-performing work environment and strengthen our partnerships in the community. Diversity and inclusion is no longer just the right thing to do; it is imperative to our organization’s success.”

Peter S. Marshall, MD, MPH, is medical director, Respiratory Care, Yale New Haven Hospital and York Street Campus Medical Step-down Unit; and co-medical director, YNHHS InSight Tele-ICU.

He was born in Montreal, Canada and spent time in the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago) and Ottawa and Toronto, Canada. He has lived in the U.S. since 1987 and became a citizen in 2011. He speaks some French.

“Diversity and inclusion are important to me because I am invested in the success of this organization. Experience has demonstrated to me that the more diverse an organization, population or team, the more likely it is to succeed and survive. This is true in biology and societies. I am also interested in fundamental fairness and creating a comfortable atmosphere where those among us who are different feel welcomed. It is just the right thing to do.”

Dorie Gemmell is a data coordinator, Patient Experience, with Northeast Medical Group, and has been with the organization nearly 35 years. Gemmell was born in New Haven and grew up in New Haven, Ohio and New Hampshire.

“I want to be a motivator of change and help educate people so they understand that diversity isn’t just limited to race and gender. People are slowly becoming aware of both unconscious and explicit bias and now, more than ever, our organization needs to immerse staff in the world of bias and make them have a deep understanding of how bias impacts decision-making, hiring practices and business outcomes.”

Rhonda Way is program manager, Patient Experience, with Northeast Medical Group. She has been with YNHHS nearly 30 years, and worked in numerous departments and two hospitals before joining NEMG. She was born in Springfield, MA, and moved to the New Haven area at age 5.

“I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood, was a sociology undergraduate and worked with behavioral health clients. I recognized early on that I had to approach people differently and I was always fascinated with people’s backgrounds and how that impacted their lives.”