SwiftMini_Associate Chief Medical Officer, Medical Director of Health Equity and Utilization Care Management, Highland Hospital, Alameda Health System

  1. Why are you passionate about this work?

Patients perform numerous silent acts of heroism every day to access the care that they need. Being in a position to not only listen and learn but to help patients overcome barriers is a great privilege. But observing the same patterns in a particular patient population is painful. When you can make a difference for an individual patient as well as population of patients, it is deeply satisfying. And fun!

  1. What was your “aha” moment while working on equity-related efforts at your organization?

Health care equity can be addressed by embedding the solutions into hospital or ambulatory operations. At AHS we have used the motto “Equity in Operations” to remind ourselves that in order to sustain the habits and processes required to examine equity and move to solutions, the practices must be embedded in our daily operations.

  1. What part of the Disparities Leadership Program has been the most useful in moving your work forward?

The Disparities Leadership Program assisted us in two foundational ways. The first was the structure of the program itself. In its approach to the creation of Equity Reports, the DLP has crystallized a solution for healthcare organizations that quickly achievable and sustainable. The second boost from the DLP staff themselves. As a team and individually, they are an ocean of wisdom, support, coaching and mentorship. In the recent years, they have referred organizations to us and invited us to collaborate with them on initiatives.

  1. What is one piece of advice you would give anyone working on disparities/equity-related efforts?

Start with what you already have. For example most organizations are already collecting some demographic data and analyzing quality outcomes. Putting them together without worrying about the accuracy of the data really informs the work effort required to not only produce this type of analysis but also to persuade your organization of its value. You might find some areas where the organization is doing well and that is a great place to start.  The second piece of advice that our team has to offer is the recommendation to validate the information collected by your registration staff with your patient experience data (if it is self-reported). We did that at AHS and were able to show our staff that we have a very high accuracy rate for some of the data fields where there were concerns.

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