Sara Ivarra Juarez – Mosaic Health System
Sara Ivarra Juarez | Deputy General Counsel | Mosaic Health System
Sara Ivarra Juarez, the deputy general counsel at Mosaic in St. Joseph, Missouri, plays an important role in shaping the legal landscape of the hospital system. Mosaic is a prominent healthcare institution serving various counties across Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa. Juarez’s dedication to employee rights, workplace safety and diversity has made her a key figure in the organization’s success.
“I recognize that a safe and supportive work environment is crucial for employee well-being and attracting medical professionals to join the team,” she says.
A hospital is undoubtedly a high-stress environment for staff and healthcare providers. The nature of the work itself can be demanding and emotionally draining. Healthcare providers are constantly faced with life-or-death situations and the pressure to make critical decisions quickly and accurately. This can lead to a perpetually high level of stress, as there is always the potential for something to go wrong. Juarez does all she can to make the environment safer for everyone.
Advocating for workplace safety
One of Juarez’s significant initiatives at Mosaic revolves around addressing the healthcare industry’s alarming increase in workplace violence. Recognizing that violence should not be considered an inherent part of the job, Juarez has been instrumental in creating awareness and implementing strategies to tackle this issue.
Even before officially initiating the Workplace Violence (WPV) committee, Juarez, as part of the Legal Risk Department, actively participated in discussions on incidents involving employees, patients, or visitors. The WPV Committee, established in July 2022, comprises members from various areas of the organization, including clinical, HR, security, legal and marketing.
The committee collaborates with the Missouri Hospital Association to collect and analyze data at a system level, providing insights to lawmakers and law enforcement. By developing and implementing WPV processes and strategies, Juarez and her team have significantly increased reporting, awareness, and education on handling potentially volatile situations.
Juarez emphasizes the importance of top leadership involvement, community engagement, and law enforcement collaboration. Mosaic’s proactive approach, including a joint press conference with law enforcement, sets clear expectations for behavior, making it a leading example for other hospitals.
“I’m dedicated to reshaping healthcare norms. Rejecting workplace violence as inevitable, I advocate for safety, diversity, and inclusion. Leveraging my legal expertise, I address challenges, fostering a culture that attracts talent and prioritizes well-being. Our initiatives symbolize a holistic approach to healthcare, transcending traditional boundaries,” Juarez says.
Juarez also collaborates with HR to guide recruiting and retention efforts. Her role extends beyond legal considerations, delving into the root causes of employee turnover, such as team culture, bullying, or discrimination. By addressing these issues proactively, Juarez aims to enhance retention and recruitment.
Diversity, equity & inclusion
In addition to focusing on workplace violence, Juarez actively contributes to initiatives related to the recruitment, retention, and diversity of employees at Mosaic. As the chairwoman of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (D&I Council), she works to address large-scale issues in Northwest Missouri and prepare for the organization’s future.
Drawing on her background in international relations, Juarez emphasizes the importance of a diverse workforce beyond traditional demographics, considering factors like age, gender, gender identity, socio-economic background, culture, ethnicity, religion, job, education, language skills, and community needs. The legal team actively engages with various departments to guide the organization on transgender employee policies, LGBTQ+ patient care, ADA issues, and accommodations.
“Our mission at Mosaic is to engage and commit to diversity and inclusion and be the voice of our employees, patients, and the communities we serve. As a leader, I take that mission to heart; for me, inclusion and diversity are not destinations. They are things that have to be intentional, continuous, and purposeful. One cannot be accidentally inclusive and expect to overcome patterned behavior that has been intentionally exclusive,” Juarez says.
On tap for this year are several projects, including the expansion of the WPV Committee, improving access to translation services through the D&I Council and a substantial task of revising and updating medical staff by-laws for all four hospitals. Additionally, she is actively involved in implementing employee resource groups (ERGs) through the D&I Council.
Despite her successful career, Juarez acknowledges her challenges as a female attorney. The double standards and biases prevalent in the legal profession have subjected her to harsher scrutiny when displaying assertiveness or decisiveness. However, Juarez remains resolute in her commitment to being direct, assertive, and decisive, which has been instrumental in her success.
“Embracing diversity in my legal journey, I’ve encountered hurdles and biases. Navigating through these challenges, my unwavering dedication to inclusion, innovation, and resilience has driven my accomplishments.” Juarez says.
A passion for law
In Juarez’s journey from Legal Aid of Western Missouri to deputy general counsel at Mosaic, she has been unwavering in her dedication to reshaping healthcare norms. Juarez’s current role is marked by her unwavering dedication to the legal profession.
She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law and was an attorney for the Legal Aid of Western Missouri for nearly five years. Additionally, she worked as an assistant city prosecutor for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, for four years before joining Mosaic in August 2015.
Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in international relations and affairs and Spanish from the University of Denver, where she also pursued her master’s in the same field.
“Each educational milestone shaped my conviction to redefine healthcare norms. Today, my commitment echoes through initiatives that transcend conventional boundaries, fostering a healthcare culture at Mosaic that cherishes safety, diversity, and inclusion,” Juarez says.
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