Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at LifeBridge Health


Sybil Pentsil, M.D., M.P.H., pediatrics, has been appointed to the role of Chief Diversity Officer at LifeBridge Health. In this position, Dr. Pentsil oversees efforts across our health system to develop diverse, equitable, inclusive and just practices in our work environment, patient interactions and community involvement. Dr. Pentsil has a distinguished career in graduate medical education, inpatient pediatrics and leadership, along with a breadth of skill, global health work and strong dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion work. 

Q: Why are justice, equity diversity and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) so important in healthcare?

A: Healthcare is a high-stress environment. Patients and providers alike need a strong sense of safety and belonging in the hospital setting, and that is what diversity, equity and inclusion efforts provide. Furthermore, systemic issues like racism and lack of diversity in the workforce threaten the health of our community. Healthcare systems have a responsibility to provide holistic care, and that includes paying attention to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

Q: What are some initiatives you are proud of at LifeBridge Health? What are ways LifeBridge Health can continue to support a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment?

A: We already have a number of amazing initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. We have workforce development opportunities to help team members advance in their careers; community work with our newest facility, Grace Medical Center; and community development initiatives like our pipeline programs, just to name a few. We have maintained Great Place to Work certification and Healthcare Equality Index Top Performer status in several of our hospitals. Our graduate medical education group has developed a program called IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness) so our residents are learning about these issues. Our Employee Resource Groups (Veterans, LGBTQIA+, Black Culture, Hispanic Latino, Abilities and Pan-Asian) are very active and instrumental at LifeBridge Health and in our local community. While we are proud of these initiatives, we recognize that there is more to do. We continue to review our hiring practices to ensure that we are recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization. We have initiatives to help staff members from marginalized communities who are new to the organization. Other active efforts include looking at the diversity of who we do business with, how we support our local community and the cultural competence of our staff.

Q: You are an active member of LifeBridge Health’s Justice, Equity Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Black Culture Employee Resource Group (ERG). Can you share some information about these and similar groups in the health system and their goals?

A: Like many others, I had such a profound sense of loss and hopelessness after George Floyd died. I channeled my sadness into joining the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (Council with the goal of making a difference. This council consists of people who are passionate about creating a safe environment here at LifeBridge Health. We engage in various activities, from implicit bias education to community events. The Black Culture ERG is one of our largest. We have been able to support Black-owned businesses, organize farmers markets in the community and conduct panel discussions like our recent discussion on Black hair. These efforts go a long way to support all of our team members and promote professional development.