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Our Commitment to DEI and Health Equity

Our commitment to justice, dignity, and belonging takes two forms: a culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI); and a focus on advancing health equity for all.

Our DEI Philosophy

We recognize that to provide the best support for patients and their families, our staff and volunteers must reflect the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of the communities we serve. At LLS, DEI is a critical part of all we do. We believe our differences are our greatest strengths as we work together toward a more equitable world without blood cancer.

Our Culture

We are actively fostering an inclusive environment for staff and volunteers where everyone feels welcome, seen, and heard. Recognizing that DEI is ongoing and ever-evolving, we are continuously learning, improving, and holding ourselves and one another accountable. We invite the entire blood cancer community to join us in this effort.

Championing DEI

We’re cultivating belonging and psychological safety through our 11 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – with nearly 80% of staff participating in one or more groups, and an average of 20 LLS-sponsored ERG events annually. Today, 20 of our organization’s senior leaders engage as ERG co-sponsors, which creates greater proximity to teams and their experiences.

We’re fostering education through self-paced learning modules and thought-provoking group discussions. We offer 25 hours of training on belonging, dignity, and justice, as well as a self-paced, in-depth learning curriculum that encourages self-reflection and leads to a Changemaker Certificate at completion. We take an innovative approach through experiential learning platforms like Film Forward and provide educational opportunities for board members and volunteers across the country.

We’re pledging to create an inclusive culture through an active membership of CEO Action For Diversity and Inclusion the largest business-led initiative to advance DEI in the workplace.

We’re standing against religious and ethnic discrimination through the Anti-Defamation League Workplace Pledge.

We’re supporting our employees facing their own cancer diagnosis through the Working with Cancer Pledge.

We’re investing in the next generation of researchers through our Underrepresented Medical Student Research Program.

We hold ourselves accountable to employees through annual surveys and active listening.

Prioritizing and embedding DEI into our structures, policies, systems, and training enables us to better serve our shared goal of health equity for all.

Our Goal: Health Equity for All

We strive to give all patients with blood cancer the best opportunities for long-term health and well-being. Our efforts are centered on breaking down barriers and creating equal access to optimal treatment, care, and resources that can maximize quality of life and outcomes for individuals with blood cancer.

Our Work

We strive to give all patients with a blood cancer the best opportunity for long-term health and well-being. Unfortunately, far too many patients know our healthcare system can be complicated, unfair, and expensive. Those challenges often disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minoritized groups, rural communities, and other underserved populations. At LLS, we believe patients deserve better.

We’re working to close critical gaps in access to blood cancer care and support, and we’re addressing the systemic racism and unjust policies and practices that lead to health disparities.

We advocate for policy changes and provide support that improves patients’ access to healthcare, preserves financial stability, and empowers them with educational and psychological resources.

Health Equity Work Highlights

We’re advocating for policies like Medicaid expansion because we believe patients, including those with low incomes or disabilities, should never be blocked from life-saving treatment. In 2023 alone, we helped to expand Medicaid coverage in North Carolina, South Dakota, and New Hampshire. Additionally, we successfully defeated federal proposals that would have made nearly 2 million people with low incomes ineligible for Medicaid coverage.

We’re expanding our IMPACT Grants program to provide new funding to four new major medical cancer centers: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, City of Hope, University of Colorado Cancer Center, and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. These facilities will provide underserved communities and at-risk populations with education about disease management and access to blood cancer clinical trials.

We’re furthering first-of-its-kind research designed to help us understand—and ultimately dismantle—barriers to equitable access to care for blood cancer patients. Studies funded through our Equity in Access program are generating evidence that informs how LLS supports and advocates for underserved patients.

We’re empowering communities through nationally recognized programs like Myeloma Link, started in 2017, to focus on connecting to Black and African American patients and communities, and our Latino and Hispanic Outreach Program, which began in 2020. These priority initiatives are building sustainable relationships in underserved populations, raising awareness of blood cancers and LLS, and ensuring patients and their families are connected to resources and timely, state-of-the-art treatment, including clinical trials.

We’re helping to advance new state and federal laws that require a deliberate approach to recruiting underrepresented patients to participate in clinical trials—because everyone deserves a fair shot at accessing cutting-edge treatment, regardless of their background, age, income, or location.