Health Equity Toolbox: How Does DEI relate to health equity

Health Equity Toolbox: How does DEI relate to health equity?


DEI is one of many tools organizations can use to advance health equity. Research shows that a diverse and representative health care workforce improves patients’ access to care, their perceptions of the care they receive and, most importantly, health outcomes. Studies have identified meaningful improvements in health outcomes when patients’ health care teams mirror their personal characteristics.

Terms are similar ... but not the same! 

DEI and health equity are often conflated and sometimes used interchangeably. Despite their similarities, they have different meanings. DEI is a vital tool in the toolbox to help promote health equity


The values, practices and policies that support the representation of individuals from all backgrounds.

  • Diversity: the presence of individual differences (race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, etc.) 
  • Equity: promoting fair, just and unbiased treatment for all people, regardless of background or social status. 
  • Inclusion: ensuring that all populations feel safe, respected, heard, valued and celebrated.

Health Equity

The fair and just opportunity for all individuals to achieve their highest level of health.

  • Eliminate preventable health disparities 
  • Address longstanding injustices that have led to present inequities 
  • Overcome economic, social and other obstacles to health

Tools for the Health Equity Journey

In addition to DEI, other tools organizations can use to advance health equity include: Community Collaboration, Strategic Partnerships, Supplier Diversity, Investment Strategies and Research.