Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) at Mercy

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Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Commitment

At Mercy, we see our patients, co-workers and visitors as people created in the image of God. We honor their dignity, celebrate their uniqueness and serve them with open minds and hearts.

Mercy is committed to caring for everyone in the communities we serve, attracting co-workers who represent the diversity of our communities, seeing that access to opportunities and resources is just, and fostering a sense of belonging in all who come through our doors.

What Does DEIB Stand for at Mercy?


Characteristics that make people different from one another (religion, age, nationality, education etc.).


Eliminating barriers to fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for patients and co-workers.


Bringing voices of those traditionally excluded into processes, activities, decisions and policy-making.


Feeling that your full potential is being engaged and your inherent worth and dignity are recognized.

The Catholic social teaching principle of solidarity calls us to recognize others as our brothers and sisters and actively work for their good.

Our Approach to DEIB

Diversity is how we differ, and it’s about more than race, ethnicity and gender. Diversity includes differences in religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, education, cultural background, disability and socioeconomic status. At Mercy, we also value diversity of thought, ideas and perspectives.

Equity means that access to opportunities and resources is just. Based on our life experiences, we may have advantages or face barriers to this access. Recognizing that everyone doesn’t start from the same place, we’re working to improve access to opportunities and resources at Mercy.

Inclusion is about making people part of the group and giving them the same rights and opportunities as others. It creates an environment where everyone feels welcome, respected, supported and fully able to participate.

Belonging occurs when diversity, equity and Inclusion are part of the cultural DNA. When people know their dignity and worth are recognized and their uniqueness is valued, it increases their sense of belonging.

DEIB Report

Learn more about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Mercy. View the 2022-2023 DEIB Report. 

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Mercy’s DEIB Cabinet

Staffed by senior leaders, diversity officers and council chairs, the DEIB Cabinet provides guidance, sponsorship and hands-on support to our DEIB councils: Community Disparities, Disability Resources, Diversity Advancement, Women in Leadership and Social Determinants of Co-Worker Health. Highlights of DEIB Cabinet accomplishments include:

  • Inclusive language – creating inclusive language guidelines, including dignified patient language and inclusive ethnicity terminology; proposing electronic medical record modifications
  • Education – developing training and certification programs on topics like unconscious bias
  • Leadership resources – providing resources on inclusive leadership, diversity recruitment and awareness of underrepresented minority (URM) organizations
  • Disability inclusion resources – providing resources on interviewing, hiring and working alongside co-workers with disabilities.
  • All-access career days – hosting inclusive interview events in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) mentorship program – offering mentorships and development opportunities for underrepresented individuals and groups
  • Mercy Women in Leadership – supporting women’s career growth through mentorships, education, events and communications
  • Social determinants of co-worker health – supporting co-workers in low-wage positions through education, development, benefits and programs like medical premium assistance
  • Social media engagement – sharing videos and posts on a variety of DEIB-related topics; join the conversation at @FollowMercy
photo of Bridget Marzette-Bender Bridget Marzette-Bender, Vice President-DEIB

Bridget Marzette-Bender

Bridget has served Mercy as vice president of the talent relations center and as the human resources director for Mercy Technology Services. Prior to joining Mercy, Bridget led diversity initiatives and aligned diversity goals to strategic plans at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Bridget also led the employee engagement diversity and inclusion team at NurseWise, a specialty company for Centene Corporation. She holds an MBA from Fontbonne University in St. Louis.

photo of Joi Cummingham Joi Cummingham, Director - Risks, Claims and Insurance

Joi Cunningham 

Joi Cunningham serves as the regional director of risk, claims and insurance for Mercy's East Region. In this role, she leads the ministry's mitigation efforts and response to professional and general liability claims and lawsuits. Prior to joining Mercy, Joi managed regulatory compliance and risk management for another health system. Additionally, she served the public as an attorney with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as well as the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. Joi earned a bachelor's in political science from Northwestern University, as well as a JD from Saint Louis University School of Law.

photo of Aura Hickey Aura Hickey, Manager - Primary Care Nursing

Aura Hickey

In her role as a nurse, Aura Hickey embodies the spirit of diversity and inclusion in health care. Her unwavering commitment to deliver exceptional care goes beyond medical expertise, embracing the cultural richness of her Hispanic heritage. She stands as a symbol of cultural competence and empathy, ensuring each patient and her team receives personalized and respectful attention. Her journey as a Hispanic woman in nursing and leadership not only underscores her professional competence but also serves as an inspirational narrative, highlighting the profound impact of diversity in shaping a compassionate health care landscape.

photo of Chris Pham Chris Pham, Manager - Consumer Marketing Analytics

Chris Pham

Chris Pham has accumulated nearly eight years of experience at Mercy, showcasing his versatility in various roles.  Initially, he spent three years at Resource Optimization and Innovation, Mercy's internal supply chain division, where he specialized in supply chain analytics. He then transitioned to the Integrated Marketing team for three and a half years, where he focused on marketing and web analytics, demonstrating his expertise in data-driven marketing strategies. Continuing his career evolution, Chris joined the Enterprise Data Analytics Organization, where he delved into consumer analytics, contributing to the organization's strategy on growth metrics. Chris holds an master's in health administration from the University of Kentucky. 

photo of Taylor Rhoades Taylor Rhoades, Director-Cardiology, Mercy Hospital Ardmore, Diversity Officer


Taylor Rhoades

Taylor Rhoades became the director of cardiology at Mercy Ardmore in September of 2021. He currently oversees respiratory therapy, heart and vascular services, the cath lab, sleep medicine, cardiac and pulmonary rehab and pain therapy. Prior to joining Mercy, he served in previous management and directorship roles ranging from community hospitals to larger academic institutions. He worked previously with Duncan Regional Hospital as their director of radiology and cardiovascular services, while also overseeing their emergency management operations.