Verywell’s 2021 Anti-Racism Pledge

December 1, 2021

To our readers—

In June 2020, we shared Verywell’s first Anti-Racism Pledge—a detailed promise to all who visit Verywell, so they may see themselves in the health and wellness content we create. 

Our pledge detailed specific targets we identified to evaluate and improve the articles, artwork, and voices that make up our brands. We will build on these goals and continue to share our progress and findings.

Our goal continues to be creating inclusive content that spans the geographic, racial, gender, and body diversity of our readers. Some examples of this work include:

Why We Created This Pledge

We created our Anti-Racism Pledge in response to the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, our country’s cultural reckoning of racial justice and civil rights for Black lives, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and brown individuals. 

In 2021, continued violence against Black lives and the rise in physical assault, verbal harassment, and other discriminatory acts against Asian Americans unfortunately reminds us that systematic racism continues to oppress and harm the lives of all BIPOC individuals. 

It has always been unacceptable, but until our public pledge, we did not play an active role in the fight against it. 

The work to become an anti-racist organization and to support, protect, and empower the lives of BIPOC individuals is never done. We recommit to our pledge and promise to keep our readers continually updated with tactical progress and new initiatives. 

As a health website that reaches more than 38 million readers per month, we are uniquely positioned to create positive change. That starts with covering topic areas we have ignored, empowering voices we have neglected, and representing those we have overlooked.

Our Pledge

We pledge to recruit and amplify Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) contributors across Verywell.

In 2021, we have continued our recruitment efforts to diversify the voices that create new articles on our sites. We have also broaden these efforts to ensure that all who have a direct impact on our content—including freelance editors, Review Board members, expert sources, illustrators, and photographers—are also inclusive of BIPOC perspectives and experiences.

We will work with diversity and sensitivity editors to expand representation within our content. In 2021, we continue to pledge to work with Dotdash's Anti-Bias Review Board to review content that accounts for 50% of our traffic, to ensure it is inclusive in its language and content.

In 2021, we continued to work with the Anti-Bias Review Board to review content to evaluate its inclusivity and ensure that its language, images, and content live up to our pledge to fight against racism and oppression. The Anti-Bias Review Board is made up of educators, advocates, public health specialists, journalists, researchers, financial experts, and other professionals, each with a background in supporting diversity, inclusion, and racial justice initiatives. 

The Anti-Bias Review Board members use their expertise and judgement to advise our editorial teams on the language, images, themes, and tone to ensure content quality.

This feedback helps our editorial team create new best practices and policies, identify content update projects, and correct errors, oversights, and incorrect information.

Together we will continue to identify specific areas of improvement in the topic areas we cover, so we can update and remediate content to be accurate, affirming, and inclusive of more experiences and identities.

Some examples of these types of update projects include:

  • Addressing fatphobia and toxic diet culture viewpoints
  • Breaking away from reinforcing a binary view of gender
  • Eliminating assumptions about readers’ ability to access medical providers or find care

We will commit to greater representation in our visual assets, including illustrations, photography, and videos. In 2021, we continue to pledge that a minimum of 25% of our traffic will contain visual assets inclusive of BIPOC.

As our content libraries continue to grow, we will maintain diversity in visual representation by updating visual assets on existing content, as well as creating and sourcing illustrations, photographs, and videos for new content.

We will prioritize the diversity of our in-house team and commit to continued education.

While we have increased the diversity of our editorial staff and brand leadership, including the addition of our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jessica Shepherd, we will continue to prioritize diversity and eliminate bias as we hire for new roles. Here are our open positions.

In 2021, we expanded these important tenets beyond the editorial staff to other internal teams that make decisions about how we present our brand to the world—including our commerce, performance marketing, sales, tech, and support teams.

We will not feature products, brands, writers, experts, influencers, or other sources with a known history of racism, including racist writing, social media posts, images, or policies.

If we have unknowingly done so, we'll work to immediately correct our mistakes.

We pledge to explore and develop partnerships with other brands, organizations, and leaders that promote inclusivity within the health industry.

In 2021, we partnered with The White Dress Project and Alliance for Positive Change as part of our Health Divide series on health inequities.  

Our pledge and commitment to these goals is part of the ongoing work of our team to listen, learn, and help our readers best care for their physical and mental health. 

In order to do so, our team will remain dedicated to building an anti-racist brand and community, recognizing the racial inequalities that impact the core content we create, and taking actions to address inaccuracies and narratives that harm the most vulnerable among us.

Please continue to hold us accountable and trust we are doing the same within our team. We want to hear how you feel you are, or are not, represented in what you see across the Verywell brands. Your feedback is valuable and helps us continue to improve and grow, with the aim of working together, not creating shame that may cause more division.

Please email us at feedback@verywell.com.

We make these changes today and we will remain committed to them tomorrow and every day that follows. Thank you for being a part of the Verywell community and joining us in our efforts to do better.

Sincerely,

The Verywell Editorial Team