Empowering Diverse Suppliers Through Connecting Businesses with Opportunities and Resources

May 31, 2024

Jennifer O’Neal Harris (on left), Director of Supplier Diversity & Value Analysis at Cincinnati Children’s and Alisa Lambert (on right), Senior Manager of Contracts & Business Development at The Health Collaborative

May 9th was the Direct Connect event where opportunity & diversity meet! This event to connect diverse suppliers to healthcare leaders and professionals in the Greater Cincinnati Region, was sponsored by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with support from The Health Collaborative.

Photograph courtesy of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center


This second annual event highlighted how hospitals can leverage their supply chain and bid processes to impact local businesses and community members.  Local, woman-owned, and The Health Collaborative GPO Vendor, Sweets & Meats co-founder Kristen Bailey was a featured panelist highlighting their relationship with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and how it has led to the soon-to-open dine-in restaurant in the Avondale neighborhood.  Sweets and Meats, located in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati, built connections with the The Health Collaborative GPO and Cincinnati Children’s as a result of the 2023 Direct Connect event.  Leadership from Messer Construction’s Urban Workforce Development Initiative was also featured.  This program invests in the career growth and success of minorities and women through workforce development, and began as an initiative of the Cincinnati Children’s CARE Building project and has since expanded to provide construction-focused workforce development in local communities.  The discussion was a great example of how hospitals can use their purchasing power to address the upstream economic and environmental conditions to impact their community members’ health and well-being.


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