Celebrating Black History Month: Yinka Oluwole


Celebrating Black History Month

Yinka Oluwole is the Director of Service Excellence and Patient Experience at Southcoast Health. In her role she collaborates with departments across the health system to create truly memorable experiences for every patient and their family. Yinka leads the Service Excellence and Patient Experience team in utilizing the data collected from patient surveys to reimagine ways to transform the way we deliver care.  

“My background as a lean facilitator drew me to the work, I am passionate about finding ways to improve the experience for both patients and healthcare providers.  Most of the improvement projects I facilitated in the early part of my career uncovered not only issues with the patient’s journey but also highlighted areas of employee’s experience that prevented them from doing their best work,” says Yinka. “When a role in Patient Experience at Southcoast Health became available, I jumped at the chance of finding ways to improve the overall human experience. I am really passionate about the values of Southcoast Health and the “More than medicine” approach resonated with me.”

As Southcoast Health celebrates Black History Month, Yinka shares how this month is significant to her.

“Throughout this month long celebration, we have a unique opportunity to highlight parts of Black culture that are not always portrayed in the media, film or books,” she says. “Black culture is shaped not only by the experiences of African Americans born here in the United States, but by African and Caribbean immigrants as well. During this month we get to reflect on the rich culture that has been created by these diverse backgrounds and spotlight the many contributions of those who have come before us, giving us hope and life lessons we can use today.”

Yinka shared that she spent her formative years living in Nigeria, and her experience is greatly influenced by her Nigerian heritage. “I come from a long line of family members that believed in the importance of education. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents were known in their respective villages to be fierce advocates for the education of their children and the children of their extended families,” she says.

“I come from a background that believes you can achieve anything with hard work and prayer.  When my family returned to the United States, I was surprised by the fact that there was a need to have this month of reflection.  From my understanding of what African Americans had endured and contributed to the society. I was surprised that this had not been part of the school’s extensive curriculum and that the college level African American Studies classes would be the only place the great legacy of Black inventors, activists, politicians, millionaires and more are usually taught.”

Directly relating to her role at Southcoast, this year’s national Black History Month theme is Black Health and Wellness and examines how healthcare has often underserved the Black community.

“This is an important topic for all of us to reflect on, considering the current health challenges we are faced with today,” says Yinka. “In our roles in healthcare, I hope we can all look at ways we can create a positive impact on underserved communities all year long.”

Expanding on the month-long celebration, Yinka hopes to see more opportunities given to the next generation.  “My hope is to see more being done to make this not only a monthly celebration but to see aspects of black experience and culture woven into the world we live in today.  I hope to see our systems set up differently so that there is fair treatment of people of all backgrounds.  I imagine a world where we are intentional about our efforts to create equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.  Lastly, I hope more people will take a moment to reflect on their choices and then decide to act. A place to start is by learning about the richness of Black history.”

Now as Yinka continues to work to improve both the patient and the overall human experience at Southcoast Health, she strives to create a more accepting, knowledgeable and welcoming environment in our community. She shared this quote by Frederick Goodall that guides her and others in this process.

“Learning about other cultures helps us to understand how much we are really alike. We remove barriers and begin to authentically connect with one another.” – Frederick Goodall.

To learn more about Southcoast Health’s Black History Month celebration please visit: Celebrating Black History Month – Southcoast Health.