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Diversity and Inclusion at AToN Center. An Introduction to Corporate Philosophy on Diversity Issues in a Residential Treatment Workplace. Objectives of this Training. To discuss the AToN Center Mission and Philosophy. To raise a greater awareness and sensitivity to diversity issues.

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diversity and inclusion at aton center

Diversity and Inclusionat AToN Center

An Introduction to Corporate Philosophy on Diversity Issues in a Residential Treatment Workplace

objectives of this training
Objectives of this Training
  • To discuss the AToN Center Mission and Philosophy.
  • To raise a greater awareness and sensitivity to diversity issues.
  • To provide a clear understanding of what diversity is and what it isn’t.
  • To be educated on steps you can take to be more sensitive to cultural differences.
  • To describe corporate resources aimed at supporting cultural competence.
mission statement
Mission Statement
  • We feel that it is essential to treat the whole person who is afflicted with addiction. Therefore we feel it necessary to address the physical, mental, spiritual, and holistic needs of our clients by integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with the SMART model of recovery and 12 Step philosophy. We provide an individualized treatment plan designed and implemented by our clinical team to address the many facets of substance abuse and addiction. Services include comprehensive psychological and medical assessment, group treatment, individual therapy, family therapy, community support meetings, exposure sessions and holistic services.
  • AToN Center treats addictions “as a whole” rather than dealing separately with the addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our integrated approach is based on scientifically validated methods and emphasizes taking responsibility for one’s actions, while providing each individual with exposure to the broad scope of self-help and recovery support groups, such as SMART Recovery and 12 Step programs. We help our residents learn how to: understand the consequences of addictive behavior, develop alternative coping methods, understand how we make choices, how to cope with urges, build a new lifestyle and develop relapse prevention skills.
aton center commitment to cultural competence
AToN Center Commitment to Cultural Competence
  • AToN Center is dedicated to cultural competence both as a corporation and as a healthcare provider.
  • HR Policies are designed to comply with various protection requirements assuring that we do not discriminate based on protected classes of employees and do not allow discrimination to occur in the workplace.
  • AToN Center recognizes that the diversity of our employees and clients makes us a stronger organization.
  • Clinical and direct care staff are required to complete continuing education classes on special populations likely to present for services in our treatment setting.
respect for individuals receiving services
Respect for Individuals Receiving Services
  • AToN Center treats each resident as an individual and conducts a series of assessments designed to identify and discuss diversity and cultural issues prior to the start of therapy.
  • Treatment plans are individualized to each client within 72 hours post-arrival with respect to individual differences and needs.
  • AToN Center welcomes both consultation of print resources including text books, journal articles, professional organizations, as well as personal collaboration with referents, community resource organizations and other entities that can support understanding of diversity issues.
diversity defined
Diversity Defined

Diversity is the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the groups and organizations with which they interact.


Primary and Secondary Dimensions of Diversity
















Ethnic Heritage




Communication Style

OrganizationalRole and Level

communication is filtered through your cultural perspective
Geographic location

Functional discipline

Languages used


Communication style

Work Style

Learning style

Economic status

Family situation

Military experience

Philosophical perspective

Communication is Filtered Through Your Cultural Perspective
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Work role/experience
  • Personality
  • Customs
culturally influenced traits
Culturally Influenced Traits
  • Individual vs. collective orientation
  • Visual vs. auditory learning style
  • Expressive vs. reserved behavior
  • Physical vs. non-physical touch/space orientation
  • Assertive vs. passive behavior
  • Gregarious vs. solitary social style
  • Strict time orientation vs. loose time orientation
  • High need for achievement vs. low need for achievement
a new metaphor for culture
A New Metaphor for Culture
  • The “melting pot” theory of acculturation is outdated, instead consider a vegetable soup metaphor.
  • You can easily identify and taste the unique flavors of the individual parts.
  • Members of various cultural groupsmay not want to be assimilated, they want their tastes, looks and textureto remain whole.
  • To function as an organization respective of diversity, we must employ inclusive work strategies.
benefits of workplace diversity inclusion
Benefits of Workplace Diversity & Inclusion
  • Improved understanding of those you work for, with, and around.
  • Provides multiple perspectives on problem solving.
  • Better performance outcomes.
  • Increases employee and resident productivity, retention, and morale.
  • Improved customer and community relations.
  • Reduces complaints and grievances.
  • It’s the right thing to do!
the business imperative what does the research show
The Business Imperative:Whatdoestheresearchshow?
  • Workforce diversity is positively associated with higher business performance outcome measures.
  • Racial diversity is positivelyassociated with higher performance in organizations that integrate and leverage diverse perspectives as resources for product delivery.
  • Gender diversity is positively associated with more effective group processes and performance in organizations with people-oriented performance cultures.
  • Diverse teams are more creative and perform better in problem solving than homogeneous teams.*
  • The effects of diversity on group processes and performance are highly dependent on the presence of facilitating or inhibiting conditions in the organization; absent facilitating conditions, the aforementioned outcomes are reversed.

Conclusion: Diversity enhances performance but requires attention.

The Effects of Diversity on Business Performance: Report of the Diversity Research Network, November 2002: Five year longitudinal study on workforce diversity and performance measures in Fortune 500 companies.

*Work Team Dynamics and Productivity in the Context of Diversity Conference, Center for Creative Leadership, N.Y.U, A.P.A, ,October, 1994

the human imperative what are the lessons learned
The HumanImperative: What are the lessons learned?
  • Notwithstanding the economic costs, the human costs of intolerance to diversity is incalculable.
  • Defining diversity solely as race and gender can have a detrimental effect; “Understanding the multidimensional nature of identity is important in defining diversity.”
  • A framework for understanding diversity should include:
    • Personal demographics
    • Knowledge, skills, abilities, and limitations
    • Values, beliefs, and attitudes
    • Personality, cognitive, and behavioral style
    • Organizational workforce and population served demographics
  • When defining diversity in multidimensional terms, including DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT, it naturally brings in aspects grounded in race, gender, and ethnicity.

Paradigms and perspectives. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

what does this mean for the aton center workplace
What does this mean for the AToN Center workplace?
  • Workplace diversity enhances performance and productivity; it is a business, economic, and social imperative in the 21stcentury.
  • To be a high performing organization, diversity should be broadly defined by traditional EEO demographics, social, cognitive, and behavioral perspectives.
  • Intolerance and insensitivity to diversity breeds disastrous and costly results; AToN Center empowers employees and guarantees their EEO rights, and should work with clients, their designees, and resources to inform treatment interventions that are inclusive and respective of diversity and individual rights.

Organizational Culture

The expression of an organization’s collective values, beliefs, and behaviors.

  • Key Questions
  • Do staff, volunteers, or program participants“check their individual identities at the door?”
  • What’s wrong with just being “color-blind” or “gender-blind” or whatever-kind of blind?
  • Does the “way we’ve always done it” close out thinking as well as staff, volunteers, program participants and community partners?
  • Is there some way you “ought to be” in order to fit in the association and its programs?
approaches to avoid
Approaches to Avoid
  • Culture-Evasion – denial of differences between cultures
  • Beliefs asserting that issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion etc. “don’t matter”
  • Assuming “we are all the same, we are all human”
  • Attitudes which make discussion about differences uncomfortable
  • Power-Evasion – denial of present and historical power differentials between groups, and denial of the current existence of oppression and discrimination
  • Beliefs postulating that issues such as institutional racism, white privilege, heterosexism, and male privilege no longer exist in our society
  • Blindness to racial/cultural injustices

Organizational Inclusion

Extent to which the organization provides fair and equitable treatment to all employees and resident groups

Equity of Practices

Extent to which culture avoids assimilationist strategies and is open to learning from different and non-traditional sources

Organizational Culture

Extent to which the organization draws upon diverse sources of knowledge and experience for planning and operations

Voice & Participation

cultural competence an aton commitment
Cultural Competence, an AToN Commitment

Cultural Competence is the ability to respond effectively and appropriately to different cultural contexts in the workplace.

  • Acknowledge and accept differences in cognitive, behavioral, philosophical, social, and communicative styles that arise from different cultural contexts.
  • Seek to understand differences; ask for clarification of context and interpretations of individuals based on their cultural lens. Exhibit a demeanor of non-judgment.
  • Commit to a standard of conduct in the workplace that is respective of differences and inclusive of individuals.
  • Seek further knowledge or consultation on diversity issues from print materials and personnel/community resources.
cultural competence do s
Cultural Competence Do’s
  • Respect others’opinions.
  • Understand your own biases.
  • Acknowledge cultural/ generational differences and historical injustices without becoming defensive.
  • Be open to expressing your cultural lens and learning about other cultures and ideas.
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt in a dispute.
  • Seek first to understand others’point of views; then to be understood.
don ts
  • Don’t stereotype or use offensive or judgmental language.
  • Don’t make assumptions with insufficient information.
  • Don’t judge others by your own cultural standards.
  • Don’t assume your culture’s way is the only or “right” way.
  • Don’t talk down to anyone.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek consultation when you feel you aren’t equipped to handle an interaction with competency.
impediments to cross cultural communication
Impediments to Cross-CulturalCommunication
  • Irrational Assumptions
  • Misunderstanding
  • Prejudice
  • Fear
irrational assumptions
Irrational Assumptions

An irrational assumption is a belief that is founded on baseless supposition, often skewed by bias. One of the best examples of irrational assumptions are the stereotypes we formulate about people based on their association or membership with cultural or ethnic groups.

“If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.”

--Orville Wright


Misunderstandings are a normal part of communication either because we unintentionally or intentionally use the wrong words or because we don’t understand what is being said to us. To prevent misunderstanding know who you’re talking to, be respectful, and be sure of what you want to say.

“Listen, I’m going to talk to the Indians. It’s probably a misunderstanding.”

--General Custer


By definition, prejudice is either a bias in favor of or against something. Such biases can of course be benign, however, those preferences having to do with people can be hurtful and cause problems especially in the workplace. Prejudice is a bias, discrimination is an act.

“Just as a child is born without fear, so it is born without prejudice. Prejudice, like fear, is acquired.”Marie Killea


Fear of change in the workplace is counterproductive, especially fear of ideas and people who are different from us.

“I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other,

and then, in some practical way, some daily way,

figure out how to see people differently

than the way we were brought up to.”

--Alice Walker

number 1 rule for diversity inclusion and constructive interaction
Number 1 Rule for Diversity, Inclusion, and Constructive Interaction
  • Dialogue! In order to understand the other’s point of view be curious but not intrusive. Reflect back what you heard summarizing and using the other person’s words but don’t parrot.
  • Dialogue! In order to communicate your own position respectfully.
  • Dialogue! In order to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement or plan that serves common goals.
how can aton employees promote diversity inclusion
How Can AToN Employees Promote Diversity & Inclusion?
  • Lead by example; respect people and differences in the workplace. Think before speaking, be sensitive to others.
  • Create a welcoming, inclusive environment in which to conduct business. Strive for customer service excellence towards co-workers and residents.
  • Incorporate diversity in policies, strategic plans, operational procedures and programming. Report acts of discrimination.
  • Learn and practice early conflict resolution strategies
  • Practice regular, effective, and open communication; empower your coworkers and residents; requires trust.
  • Walk the talk.
diversity is only fair
Diversity is only FAIR

Feedback/communication promotes understanding, reduces conflict; and enhances productivity.

Assist others to become culturally competent; support one another – we are all in this together!

Inclusion should be practiced; empower each other and our residents to embrace diversity and a cultural conversation.

Respect is non-negotiable; honor the social contract.

last words to ponder
Last Words To Ponder

“When we feel a sense of belonging it is not because we are the same as everyone else, but because we have been accepted as we are.”

corporate resources if you need more resources just ask
Corporate ResourcesIf you need more resources – Just ask!
  • Journal of Addiction Psychology – numerous articles on treatment of specific populations
  • CE Classes.com – specialized clinical CE classes on age, sexual orientation, trauma history etc.
  • Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Diversity
  • HR helpdesk SHRM.org and corporate lawyer consults
  • Conference attendance opportunities
  • Special population referral sources available for consultation
  • List of local religious organizations and contact persons (Resident Handbook)
  • Special population community support meetings