Request for Feedback: OpenMRS Diversity Council

Hi everyone, please share your thoughts! I will collect and integrate feedback.


The OpenMRS Diversity Council’s mission is to ensure that the our community fosters and supports a community of inclusion that reflects our commitment to health equity as well as the communities that we serve. OpenMRS is committed to actively cultivating and leveraging a diverse community that is accessible to everyone. We strive to improve the community’s own self-awareness and commitment to diversity in a constructive way.


The OpenMRS Diversity Council envisions a future where our community fully embraces and promotes inclusion to ensure that we are a model for diversity in the broader fields of technology, development, health and management.


The OpenMRS Diversity Council acts with special focus on inclusion, empowerment, and understanding. We are committed to increasing effectiveness and accountability in our work through developing and sustaining a diverse community.


  1. Provide guidance to the OpenMRS Leadership group on diversity with an overt commitment to improving our diversity community-wide
  2. Communicate our commitment to diversity both internally and externally
  3. Attract and maintain a diverse group of contributors to OpenMRS
  4. Track progress towards OpenMRS diversity goals
  5. Collect and share relevant data, stories, and reflections on diversity in our community and beyond, as well as highlight the involvement of women and underrepresented in all areas of OpenMRS
  6. Provide guidance and mentorship to individuals, especially under-represented groups, who are overwhelmed, offended or left behind or left out
  7. Provide advice to other parts of the community in how they can improve diversity in various programs, projects, and events, such as a. Alternative hackathons (inspired by Spotify’s Diversify event) b. Support educational/outreach events throughout the year to help people learn about the value and need for making a more diverse, inclusive community
  8. Partner with the fundraising team to identify potential opportunities for funding targeted to support women and underrepresented groups in OpenMRS and ICT development; to support attendance of women and underrepresented groups at open source conferences as representatives of OpenMRS; etc.

Council membership and organization

  • The council is a permanent part of the community management division in our “people acquisition & retention” group
  • The council includes active community members as well as “outsiders”
  • There should be a leader/chair of the council, and that person role should have a permanent seat on the newly-established OpenMRS Leadership Team in order to put forward any relevant recommended policy changes/ program adoption the Diversity Council determines will help achieve its vision.
  • The Director of Community should have a seat on the council to provide insight & hear feedback.
  • The council will create diversity tracking goals and metrics in collaboration with the community leadership council and will report the annual metrics back to the community in the Annual Report.

Hi @Jordan, nice work! I used my red pen only on your “Mission” paragraph. Those specific three sentences got me thinking, and so I revised them slightly below. /Larry

  • The OpenMRS Diversity Council’s mission is to ensure that OpenMRS fosters and supports our commitment to health equity and full inclusion in the worldwide communities that we serve. OpenMRS is committed to cultivating and leveraging a diverse community of developers of open source healthcare software that is accessible for free to everyone. We strive to improve the community’s own self-awareness and commitment to diversity in constructive ways.

The first sentence reflects the mission of OpenMRS to create healthcare software that serves diverse worldwide communities. The second sentence reflects the mission to create a diverse community of developers. The third sentence reflects the mission of the Diversity Council itself to promote diversity within OpenMRS.


Thanks @jordan, this is amazing! The only comment I have is the use of the phrase:

women and underrepresented groups

I think naming one specific group and grouping the rest together might be slightly exclusionary. Perhaps we could just use the phrase “underrepresented groups” consistently throughout?

EDIT: I hope this means we’ll be participating in outreachy sometime.


Good point. Thanks!

Great work @jordan – nothing but great things can happen from this!

1 Like

Excellent work, @jordan.

I have been thinking about Pascal’s suggestion to modify from “women and underrepresented groups” to “underrepresented groups”. Are we losing focus by watering down the statement? In the OpenMRS community, women are underrepresented based on Jordan’s data analysis, 50% of the world’s population are female, and our observations about the community. (There are likely other underrepresented cohorts. I’d love to know so as to be more aware and sensitive.)

In the US, there have been heated discussion about #BlackLivesMatter vs #AllLivesMatter. All lives do matter, but we are ignoring that we need to improve the treatment of Blacks in the US. Removing “women” from the diversity statement feels wrong. I welcome your thoughts.

Happy #InternationalWomenDay.

Ellen Ball Partners In Health


Just as a reference, Outreachy identifies the following specific groups:

Currently, internships are open internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Additionally, they are open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

That definition might be too American-centric for us (although I do think we should participate in the program). Another great resource is the Ada Initiative, which is primarily focused on women in tech.



  • +1 for specifically talking about specific under represented groups like women (and other specific groups, too)
  • +1 for remembering we probably will overlook one or more groups of people, and for publicly acknowledging that our list above isn’t exhaustive
  • +1 for being open to adjust the charter as needed :slight_smile:

My two cents on the comments above:

  • +1 for calling out “women” in the statement “women and underrepresented groups”. Agree with @ball that removing women is watering down the statement a bit, and that a focus on including women specifically needs to be called out. I’m a bit biased, but I think people in general don’t always categorize women as part of the underrepresented.
  • +1 to having some statement similar to outreachy that @pascal quoted here.
  • +1 to saying we might have overlooked listing those we serve, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t committing to include anyone who feels underrepresented or feels that it is a challenge to be included.
  • @lrosen commented to change the statement to include focus on developers, but I disagree with that in light of the re-organization that we are doing to include multiple skills and roles within the community (we are not just developers anymore!). We should be proud of that as it’s unique and will ultimately improve the products we create and the use of those products to make a bigger impact in healthcare.

Nice job @jordan!


Thanks @janflowers et al.

What are the other groups underrespresented in OpenMRS specifically/ who should be mentioned? Personally I think yes, include women specifically, although as the list grows it feels more exclusionary for the groups we’ll overlook.

So, maybe “women, LGBT+, people of underrepresented nationalities…” then acknowledge this isn’t exhaustive. Is there a better way to say this, or another group that should be mentioned?

thank you thank you thank you :smile:

1 Like

Certainly one group that is underrepresented is non-fluent English speakers. This is a challenging barrier. The regional implementer meetings are one way to address this. Another would be pairing them with an experienced community member who shares a language.

Not sure if others have seen this issue. I know that our colleagues are not always comfortable with presenting at OpenMRS events when English is not their first language.



+100 - completely agree @ball!


Thanks everyone for your feedback. More information coming soon from @jordan!