FeaturedInclusionTop Story

Like a garden, diversity makes the whole stronger

And because everyone belongs, Asante has changed the name of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion program to ABIDE.


Anyone who knows me, knows I love gardening and having a green thumb. Late summer is a time when gardeners of all green-thumb-shades can see the literal fruits of their labor.

While we take pleasure in collecting berries, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, cucumbers and other crops from our gardens, many of us also see gardening as a way to connect to family, community and cultural traditions.

If we were to acknowledge the history of such gardening and harvesting techniques, we would see a virtual tether that takes us back many generations to those of our ancestors. A great quote says, “If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.” Today, I hope this article touches your life in a few enlightening ways.

Kitty Sallas in her garden.

As someone who grew up with Mexican cultural roots, I follow the principles of the Three Sisters in my garden, which is a trio first planted by Native Americans and adopted by European settlers in the 1600s.

Some of you may recognize this as “good-neighbor planting.” The best-known example of companion planting is the Three Sisters of corn, pole beans and squash.

“There are different interactions from planting certain vegetables, herbs and flowers together,” said Pam Zaklan, president of the Josephine County Master Gardener Association chapter, told The Oregonian. “It’s not just about attracting beneficial insects; you have to know what the plant’s needs are and plant something that will complement that.”

Did you know squash bugs are deterred by the smell of chives, mint, oregano, marjoram, calendula and dill? I like to refer to one of my favorite flowers — sunflowers — as the fourth sister. Sunflowers are amazing to bring in pollinators and they give bean vines another structure to grow on instead of a pole. As sunflowers take nitrogen from the soil, the beans put it back in.

You can learn more about how Asante is cultivating a culture of “good-neighbor” principles by reading on about the ABIDE steering committee. The idea of actively planting, tending and harvesting a garden is similar to the ways in which the members of the ABIDE steering committee are actively planting and tending seeds of a different nature. A human nature.

ABIDE stands for:


Previously known as the Asante Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) steering committee, this team is committed to education and promotion related to all things: belonging, inclusion, diversity and equity.

What has the ABIDE committee done in the past year? We are glad you asked, here is an outline of the committee’s recent activities. ABIDE has restructured its charter to establish tasks associated with bringing about strategic changes in education and support of belonging, inclusion, diversity and equity.

ABIDE has added frontline staff (not leaders) to the steering committee membership. ABIDE has created four new operational teams, subgroups who will have separate membership in the areas of:

  1. Employee engagement
  2. Patient engagement
  3. Community outreach
  4. Internal processes and policies (seeking volunteers)

ABIDE has identified training opportunities for staff, leaders and clinicians alike for fiscal year 2023. While ABIDE is excited about providing ongoing communication and updates to our employees, we are most excited to extend an invitation to any interested staff to join our operational groups.

Whether you garden or not, hopefully you are seeing the fruits of this labor of love at Asante called “human kindness” bloom all around at our many campuses. Will you consider rolling up your sleeves and helping us cultivate more? For those who have interest in joining our ABIDE operational teams in the areas of employee engagement, patient engagement or community outreach, please email ED*@as****.org.

I am proud to work for an organization raising awareness of and doing work to improve the principles that ABIDE embraces, together. I am proud of anyone else who wants to help, too.

What is ABIDE?

After the civil unrest in summer 2020, it became apparent that America — and Asante — must do more to promote social justice and try to eliminate biases. The result was the Asante Belonging, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee (formerly EDI).

The team of employees and leaders is focusing on employee engagement, patient engagement, community outreach, policy management, employee and leadership development, and communications.

The intent of the work not only is to embrace diversity at Asante, but to recognize our commonalities. If you are interested in this work, email us with your comments and suggestions.

Tags: ABIDE, belonging, Diversity, equity, garden, inclusion, Kitty Sallas
Buy scrubs, benefit Asante Foundation
Oct. 5 webinar: “Going Rogue, fall edition”

If you have a question, please contact the author or relevant department directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed


Popular related content