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CASA Celebrates Black History Month

Member Spotlight - Shawna Gill

Black History Month provides an opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage of African Americans and how the Black community has shaped U.S. history. February marks the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, who were leaders in the fight to end slavery. Today, we can take time during Black History Month to acknowledge and reflect upon the current and past achievements of the Black community and their lasting impacts.

Here are some ways you can take action to increase awareness and celebrate diversity:

  • Click here to learn about the achievements of African Americans in medicine, the Black Hospital Movement, historically Black medical schools, and Black healthcare leaders who contributed to the advancement of medicine. 
  • Check out blogs, videos, and other resources from the National Archives that document African American History.
  • Learn about the disparities that exist in healthcare and wellness for Black Americans – on average, they experience worse access to care, lower quality of care, and poorer health outcomes than the nation as a whole. Reflect on how our healthcare systems today can help close the gap, decrease disparities, and increase health literacy for African Americans.
  • Support Black-owned businesses and restaurants. You can search within apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Yelp to find “Black-owned” businesses to choose from.
  • Visit a museum, read a book, listen to music, or watch a Black history documentary. Many of the streaming services have special collections of content for Black History Month.
  • Donate to non-profit organizations that are advancing Black rights and equal justice.


CASA Member Profile

Shawna Gill Headshot

Shawna Gill, RN, Administrator for Advanced Surgery Center of North County


What does Black History Month mean to you? What does it mean to you to represent a minority community in the U.S.?

Black History Month, which references a significant part of American History, gives us an opportunity to embrace the magnificent contributions of the Black diaspora wholeheartedly. Throughout this month, we not only shine a light on the hardships endured by Black individuals across the globe, but we also celebrate their indomitable spirit. This month, we reference those Black leaders with famous contributions, like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, and George Washington Carver, and bring awareness to those who may not be as well known, like Jack Johnson and Althea Gibson. Moreover, this month serves as a reminder of the sheer elegance of being Black and the boundless diversity that enriches our people and culture.

Are there any ways that you celebrate Black History Month at home, work, or in your community?

Despite not requiring a designated observance day to stimulate my thirst for knowledge concerning black history, I value this period as it allows me to organize educational endeavors centered around black history. I consume documentaries that delve into the intricacies of the black experience and read one publication per week written by black authors. Additionally, I select a few black trailblazers from various epochs and delve deeper into their lives and contributions. If available resources permit, I may even visit a museum dedicated to Black or African History. If physical attendance is not possible, numerous institutions offer virtual tours as a viable alternative.

Are there any ways that your ASC facility actively promotes a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture for patients and staff?

Our parent company, USPI, firmly believes in our strength and diversity. We have made it a priority to ensure that our workforce is truly representative, allowing everyone to contribute to their fullest potential. Furthermore, we have fostered a workplace environment that encourages collaboration and connection with the community, celebrating the unique qualities that each person brings to our organization.

Why is it important for healthcare providers and facilities to recognize and celebrate diversity?

Promoting diversity in healthcare is of utmost importance due to its numerous benefits to patients. These advantages encompass a decrease in healthcare disparities, enhancement, and optimizations of care delivery, as well as improved access to care.

What do you wish more people would think about or do during Black History Month?

I look forward to witnessing an increase in individuals commemorating the importance of Black History Month. I want to see healthcare organizations actively participate in celebrating this significant event, even if their representation is limited. It is important to acknowledge the progress America has made with the acknowledgement of the African American’s contributions. However, we must recognize that much work still needs to be done. As new generations emerge, they will have the opportunity to shape their black history. Therefore, Black History Month serves as a time of reflection, expressing gratitude, and aspiring for a brighter future.

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