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Big Bend Hospice enhances diversity and inclusion effort

Special to the Times
The Apalach Times

Dr. Lenny Marshall has been named Big Bend Hospice’s director of diversity and inclusion.

Marshall, who joined Big Bend in 2008 and has served as manager of spiritual care services since 2016, will oversee the development and implementation of programs and services that promote diversity within the organization.

He will create new initiatives to effectively increase diversity among those receiving hospice care, and will enhance the internal training to assist employees to embrace and understand different perspectives minority groups face when dealing with an advanced illness. This group includes, but is not limited to, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish and LGBTQ.

Marshall, a Gulf War veteran, received through an ROTC scholarship a degree in social work from dual work at Florida State University and Florida A & M University. He obtained a masters of divinity from The Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and later pursued a doctorate degree in family and marriage therapy from Amridge University in Montgomery, Alabama.

“I am proud of the exemplary job Dr. Marshall has done over the years keeping diversity and inclusion in the forefront of our working environment,” said Bill Wertman, Big Bend’s CEO. “He will now have the opportunity to continue his work of engaging staff and community in this enhanced role.”

In the fall of 2015 Big Bend Hospice began a focused effort as an organization to confront issues surrounding diversity, race, inclusion and privilege. At that time, Marshall worked with other members of the Action Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (ACDI) to create an educational component that could be utilized for the purpose of dialogue and awareness with staff.

Marshall was part of the team that established in 2016 the Gadsden County Spiritual Leadership Council, its mission to find avenues and opportunities to provide hospice education to minorities in faith-based organizations, including churches.

In November 2019, Big Bend Hospice completed their accreditation for the National Institute for Jewish Hospice Services, an achievement that helps guide staff to serve Jewish patients in a culturally sensitive way, providing greater patient/family satisfaction.

Equal justice, diversity, and inclusion have been a driving force for Marshall, who has served and continues to serve on various community boards, and has earned educational credits in the area of mediation, communication, cultural competency, and consensus building.

“During this time in my career of ongoing change and excitement, I am humbly grateful to Big Bend Hospice for the opportunity to further expand my role in the area of proactive equality and inclusion,” said Marshall. “I look forward to continuing the legacy of Big Bend Hospice in being a champion of peace, fairness, and love for all of humanity.”

Big Bend Hospice, your hometown hospice since 1983, is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) hospice provider serving Franklin, Leon, Gadsden, Liberty, Madison, Jefferson, Taylor and Wakulla counties. Its mission is to inspire hope by positively impacting the way the community experiences serious illness or grief — one family at a time. For more information, please visit www.bigbendhospice.org