Last year we celebrated Juneteenth with the debut of our Champions of Change list. We've seen how Champions of Change can have lasting impact on their organizations – unlocking greater innovation, accelerating success in new communities, and providing a healthier environment for people to thrive. This year, in continued celebration of Juneteenth, we wanted to go a little deeper to share three in-depth stories of Champions of Change as they work to shape a more equitable world.
Second up in our Champions of Change spotlight series is a conversation with the remarkable Angela Lim, vice president and deputy general counsel at Viz.ai. In the past 25+ years, Angela has bridged her intersectional Asian LGBTQ identity and her board service work to create an impact on health equity. Her work is expansive. She currently serves on the board of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and on the board of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which advocates for civil rights of the LGBTQ community.
I sat down with Angela to learn more about her work with Viz.ai, a company at the forefront of harnessing artificial intelligence to improve patient outcomes. Viz.ai's enterprise AI disease detection platform improves visibility for care teams at critical moments in patient care. Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and disability and pulmonary embolism is the third-leading cause of cardiovascular death in the U.S. but these affect communities differently. According to the CDC, the Black community has twice the risk of having a first stroke, and the highest rate of death by stroke. And although the stroke death rate has declined overall, the Hispanic community has seen an increase in stroke deaths since 2013.
Angela describes Viz.ai’s approach to health equity and access, and the importance of supporting “hub and spoke” health systems — when ambulatory care, outpatient clinics and smaller hospitals coordinate with larger hospitals in more populated areas. This builds speed into coordinating care, especially for hospitals without a stroke center on site, andenables healthcare providers to route a patient to a hospital with capability and capacity for care within minutes. The Viz.ai solution can be found in more than 1000 hospitals in the U.S. and the EU, with a patient accessing its system every 32 seconds.
Angela also highlights how Viz is creating health equity through its Viz Gives program. Through Viz Gives, Angela and the team lead proactive outreach to underserved communities, offering these hospitals solutions on a highly discounted basis and expedited implementation.
She tells us she wakes up every day knowing she is "going to help in some way to deliver healthcare to people who possibly wouldn't get it otherwise, and increase access to life saving treatments."
As a company, Viz has established some best practices that actively help team members make long-lasting change:
Cross-functional ownership: Viz treats all efforts to champion equity as a team sport, empowering teams with resources to support their intentions.
Formalized structure: EDI programs are formally structured within HR, solving a common industry challenge employee resource groups can face regarding bandwidth and funding.
Accessible programs: All Viz employees, regardless of ERG membership or geography, have access to lead and/or participate in all EDI programs.
Support beyond company walls: Viz works with team members to open up bandwidth for external ecosystem work such as Angela's board service. They also amplify her efforts, proudly sharing when she participates in external activities, speaking engagements or fundraisers.
There is magic that happens when you pick an organization that's going to support you fully in who you are. Angela beams as she says, "If Viz.ai wasn't that type of company, I probably wouldn't be here." Because Viz has been genuinely supportive of her intersectional work and identity, she feels motivated to reflect that level of transformational support across and beyond the company. For Angela, it's significant that Juneteenth and Pride both celebrate freedom of identity – of being who you are. She hopes her story moves more people to model bringing their authentic selves to work and being proud of who they are.