Fostering Inclusion: A Spotlight on HDA’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Employee Network

May 08, 2024

During the month of May, our country celebrates the contributions of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) diasporas through AANHPI Heritage Month. HDA member companies have commemorated this occasion by organizing events, spotlighting employees and more, with employee resource group (ERG) programs throughout the year continuing to strengthen a supportive and inclusive environment for these communities.

HDA offers an industry-wide Asian American and Pacific Islander Employee Network (APEN) ERG for community members and allies to connect. The group, spanning HDA’s distributor, manufacturer and service provider member companies, aims to cultivate a sense of belonging within the healthcare supply chain.

We spoke with APEN ERG lead Vidhya Krishnamoorthy, Director of IT, Specialty Physician Services, for Cencora, and assistant lead Jason Chung, Director of Compliance for BluPax Pharma, about their aspirations for this group and reasons for participating.

HDA: Why did you choose to participate in and lead HDA’s APEN ERG?

Krishnamoorthy: I've chosen to join and lead HDA's APEN ERG because it provides a platform to cultivate an inclusive environment for individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. Through my leadership in this ERG, I aim to bolster professional development by facilitating networking opportunities, fostering continuous learning and promoting growth. It's imperative for us to unite, offering support and leveraging each other's experiences. Furthermore, our message emphasizes that belonging in this ERG extends beyond a specific group; we welcome all allies and members. With collective support, we can collaboratively strive toward creating a better world for everyone.

Chung: I wanted to make more of an impact to help guide and champion initiatives that I believe in.

HDA: What is unique about HDA’s industry-wide ERG that could inspire other Asian American and Pacific Islander healthcare distribution professionals and allies to participate? 

Krishnamoorthy: I believe what sets HDA's industry-wide ERG apart is its commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment that values the perspectives and experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander healthcare distribution professionals. By actively engaging allies in our initiatives, we are creating a platform for collaboration and learning that transcends boundaries.

Our ERG provides a safe space where individuals from diverse backgrounds can come together to share insights, support one another's growth and drive positive change within the healthcare distribution industry. We encourage participation from all members, regardless of their background, as we believe that collective efforts lead to meaningful impact.

Chung: The broad reach of HDA’s industry-wide ERG affords the opportunity for people of various disciplines within the supply chain to come together that would otherwise never connect.

HDA: Have you seen a shift in the presence and role of people identifying as Asian American and Pacific Islander within the healthcare supply chain? How do you think the ERG could support future inclusion?

Krishnamoorthy: More professionals from [Asian American and Pacific Islander] backgrounds are actively contributing their skills, expertise and perspectives to various aspects of the industry, ranging from supply chain management to leadership positions.

To support future inclusion within the healthcare supply chain, our ERG plays a crucial role in several ways:

  • Advocacy and Awareness: By raising awareness about the contributions and challenges faced by Asian American and Pacific Islander professionals in the healthcare supply chain, we can advocate for equal opportunities and representation.
  • Professional Development: Through networking events, mentorship programs and skill-building workshops, we can empower individuals to enhance their capabilities and advance their careers within the industry.
  • Collaboration and Partnerships: By fostering collaborations with other ERGs, industry stakeholders and organizations dedicated to diversity and inclusion, we can collectively drive initiatives that promote a more inclusive environment for all professionals.
  • Mentorship and Support: Providing mentorship opportunities for emerging talent from Asian American and Pacific Islander backgrounds can help nurture future leaders and create a supportive network within the healthcare supply chain.

By continuing to advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion within the healthcare supply chain through these efforts, our ERG can contribute significantly to paving the way for a more inclusive future for all professionals in the industry.

Chung: … Having joined HDA’s industry-wide ERGs, and specifically APEN, I’ve been introduced to many other Asian Americans that I otherwise would never have met.

HDA: What do you hope to accomplish through the industry-wide ERG? What does success look like? 

Krishnamoorthy: Success [means] fostering a culture of inclusivity, respect and empowerment within the healthcare supply chain. It [entails] increased representation of Asian American and Pacific Islander professionals at all levels of the industry, where their voices are not only heard but valued. Success also involves creating a supportive network that champions diversity and drives positive change within the healthcare distribution sector.

Chung: I hope to be able to facilitate the building of a program where people from diverse cultures, backgrounds and professions can connect and grow through that diversity. Success [looks like] increased active participation and more importantly the quality of the feedback from active members. The current immediate initiative is to grow active participation in APEN.

Enhancing Inclusivity in the Healthcare Supply Chain

Anne Nevel, VP of Education at HDA and staff sponsor of the APEN ERG, said, “Having a place to connect with other supply chain professionals with shared experiences is very meaningful. People can network, give career advice and gain leadership experience. These ERGs are being built from the ground up, but I’ve encouraged participants to lean on other members that have ERGs within their employers for lessons learned and advice.”

“What also lights me up is the opportunity to provide more awareness and access to the resources and benefits available to our member companies, and by extension, their staff, such as other professional development programs and events. We are excited to be able to support even more of HDA’s membership and further facilitate education across a variety of skillsets.”

As HDA observes AANHPI Heritage Month, the association and our members remain committed to fostering communities that lead to continued innovation and belonging for all supply chain professionals.

We invite Asian American and Pacific Islander healthcare supply chain professionals and allies from HDA’s member companies to join this or any of the other ERGs by filling out the form here. The groups will meet on Tuesday, May 14, at 2:00 p.m. (ET) for a webinar about Impostor Syndrome. All HDA members are welcome to attend. For more information on HDA’s ERGs, visit the HDA website or contact Subrina Ghorashi, Director, Education.

Note: Interviews were condensed for length and clarity.