It’s a small but powerful word to describe the efforts of the Institute of Diversity and Health Equity in 2022. And, really, it’s the only way we know how to turn intent into action, to best support our members – America's hospitals and health systems -- to accelerate efforts to advance health equity, diversity and inclusion. Consider the landscape at the start of the year: we were dealing with a fluctuating COVID-19 pandemic which fueled a national call to prioritize health equity in health care settings. It became an imperative for the association and its team at the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IFDHE) to explore tangible, actionable ways to respond to the field. One way we accomplished this was to engage in meaningful conversations with our members to see what was important to them. We listened, we created a plan and we took action. There were hurdles along the way, but we persisted and reached a point where we were ready to mobilize the field.
Here are some of the initiatives that defined our efforts in 2022:
The Health Equity Roadmap
To date, more than 650 hospitals and health systems are embarking on the Health Equity Roadmap, a framework to help hospitals and health care systems chart their own path toward transformation, with the goal to become more equitable and inclusive organizations. The Roadmap is perhaps IFDHE’s most ambitious effort on behalf of the field.
Accelerating Health Equity Conference
IFDHE and AHA’s Community Health Improvement in May hosted the 2022 Accelerating Health Equity Conference in Cleveland, with over 700 community partners and stakeholders from health care organizations engaging in robust conversations about efforts to advance health equity for all patients. This is now an annual event.
Joy A. Lewis and Heather McGhee at the 2022 Accelerating Health Equity Conference in Cleveland.
Equity of Care Awards
Mount Sinai Health System’s exemplary display of leadership through its health equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives resulted in winning the AHA’s 2022 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award.
Black Women CEO Roundtable
We launched the Black Women CEO Roundtable to facilitate meaningful connections and a support system among Black women hospital and health system CEOs. This roundtable is an important effort to develop, nurture and advise Black women who are currently in CEO roles or aspire to the chief executive officer role.
The thing about taking bold strides toward your goals is that there is little time to waste resting on your laurels. That’s why we’re already preparing for a similarly impactful 2023:
Growing Roadmap participation
- We hope that by this time next year, we’ll have well over 1,000 hospitals and health systems engaging on the Health Equity Roadmap.
- Spread and scale our efforts in partnership with the RISE to Health Coalition.
Continue the work of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant
- We’ve scheduled several stakeholder activities for this coming year, including six Health Equity Innovation Summits and several gatherings of the Health Equity Influencers Roundtable, of which there are currently over 200 members and counting.
Members gather to discuss health equity solutions at the Region 6 Innovation Summit in St. Paul, Minn.
The 2022 DEI Benchmarking Survey Report
- We are working to analyze and synthesize what we learned about the state of the field in the 2022 Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Survey, with a full report expected in the first quarter of 2023.
Expand IFDHE’s Research Agenda
- Identify opportunities to conduct or support original research in partnership with our members and/or other research organizations. Of note, is the plan to launch The Health Equity Strategic Learning Collaborative — a network of researchers which will include African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American and Indigenous academics, health equity researchers and graduate students working with IFDHE to develop a research agenda that benefits a range of hospitals and health systems to drive research into action.
So what will continued boldness yield for us in 2023? I am optimistic that we’ll see a greater number of hospitals and health systems more fully immersed in their equity journey, leveraging the resources and tools and evidence-informed practices to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes for ALL.
In closing, I know this: in 2023 you can expect continued commitment from the IFDHE team to support your equity journey. I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season and look forward to working with and for you in the coming year.