The African-American/Black Employee Resource Group (AA/BERG) was one of the first employee resource groups established under the auspices of the Lifespan diversity office in 2004. AA/BERG and other employee resource groups were created to offer opportunities to promote employee development and advancement through workforce diversity; promote an increased awareness and visibility of diversity issues across Lifespan; and to develop initiatives to retain and recruit a talented, diverse workforce. While AA/BERG is focused on issues impacting African-American/Black employees, the organization is open to any Lifespan employee regardless of their race or ethnicity.
AA/BERG's mission is to support and advise African American/Black employees and Lifespan through cultural awareness and understanding that promotes hiring, retention and career advancement around education, professional growth and development. In order to accomplish its mission and achieve its goals, AA/BERG has established four major areas of focus: education and awareness; training and development; hiring, retention and promotions; and support networks.
Since its inception AA/BERG has fostered a greater understanding and awareness of diversity and the African-American culture through its annual Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month observances, and holiday celebration in December.
AA/BERG sponsored its first professional development seminar in 2006, and in early 2007 co-sponsored a conference on disparate healthcare issues in Rhode Island with the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives. AA/BERG also completed a career development and advancement survey of African-American/Black employees to identify areas where both Lifespan and AA/BERG could work to enhance career development opportunities for employees, and a workforce diversity framework in support of moving the workforce profile toward one that is more reflective at all employment levels of patients and the community. AA/BERG has also supported community organizations such as the Mixed Magic Theater and the Rhode Island Black Storytellers.