Game, set, match! A conversation with Billie Jean King

Christiana Care Health System President and CEO Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, joined sports icon and social justice pioneer Billie Jean King at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center in November for a powerful discussion about equality, inclusion and the importance of connecting with others.

King shared lessons from the tennis court and the public arena with an energized audience of doctors, nurses, residents, staff and community partners.

“I’ve always been a big believer that with equality, everyone will win,” said King, who championed gender equality and access in sports and in all aspects of life, earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

One of the most illustrious and celebrated tennis players in history, King pioneered equal rights and equal pay and is the subject of the recent film “Battle of the Sexes,” about her storied tennis match against Bobby Riggs, a pivotal moment in gender relations in the United States.

“I knew this was the one moment that we’d have a huge audience, this exposure that we couldn’t make happen again … to help equality move forward, to start changing hearts and minds about wanting equality for everybody,” King said.

As part of the health system’s commitment to fostering a culture of inclusion and equity in health, Christiana Care hosted the event, which was generously supported by Carol Ammon and Marie Pinizzotto through The Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, held by Matthew K. Hoffman, M.D., MPH.

Christiana Care advances equity in health care with a commitment to embrace diversity and show respect to everyone.

Chief Health Equity Officer Bettina Tweardy Riveros, Esq. reviewed Christiana Care’s status as a six-time honoree as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Christiana Care has a dedicated Office of Diversity and Inclusion led by Chief Health Equity Officer Bettina Tweardy Riveros, Esq. The health system has earned the Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality designation six times from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

“For people to achieve their own health goals, they need to feel they are well in terms of their mind and their body,” Dr. Nevin said. “Being included and having access to services, to know that you can come somewhere for care and be safe and be respected for who you are … without these, you cannot achieve health.”

There is still much work to do to achieve true equality for all, King said, and she looks ahead to the next generation.

“I think the millennials are the greatest generation we’ve ever had when it comes to inclusion,” King said. “With them, I think we have an extraordinary opportunity to truly change this world and to get much closer to equality. We stand on the shoulders of every generation.”

Photo gallery: Billie Jean King visits Christiana Care