Evaluation of the Disparities Leadership Program

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The Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, with support from the Aetna Foundation, is pleased to present the results of an evaluation of the Disparities Leadership Program.

The DSC contracted evaluators from the Leadership Learning Community to conduct an external assessment of the DLP and its impact. Participants in the study included all organizational teams that participated in the program from 2008-2011. Data sources included an online survey, key informant interviews, and case study site visits.

This evaluation was supported by The Aetna Foundation, a national foundation based in Hartford, Connecticut, that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high quality care for everyone. The views presented here are of the author, and not necessarily of The Aetna Foundation, its directors, officers or staff. The Aetna Foundation was not involved in selecting the organizations involved or in the work conducted as part of the Disparities Leadership Program evaluation. 

The goals of this Evaluation are to:

    1. Assess the skills and knowledge participants gained from the program.
    2. Evaluate participants’ progress on their disparities project or organizational planning efforts.
    3. Determine the overall impact of the program on participating organizations’ capacity to better plan for, identify, and implement models to identify and address disparities and achieve equity.
    4. Identify ways to improve the overall quality of the program.

Who should read this Evaluation?

This evaluation is intended to provide clear and concise information about the impact of the Disparities Leadership Program on participating organizations’ efforts to reduce disparities. Findings from this evaluation will provide guidance to health plans, hospitals, health centers, and other organizations interested in developing programs to train leaders to address disparities, including CEOs, VPs, and others that focus on quality, safety, and risk management.

Background on the Disparities Leadership Program

The Disparities Leadership Program (DLP) is designed to equip a cadre of leaders in healthcare with in-depth knowledge of the field of disparities, cutting-edge quality improvement strategies for identifying and addressing disparities, and the leadership skills to implement these strategies and facilitate organizational transformation towards greater equity. This program is funded and offered by the Disparities Solution Center (DSC) of Mass General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, MA. To date, 130 people have participated in the DLP from 89 organizations, representing 28 states, along with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Switzerland. Forty-four participating organizations (44) have been hospitals while the others were health plans and community based organizations.

The DLP is a one year executive leadership program that begins with a formal skills curriculum delivered during a two-day face-to-face intensive training session. DLP teams bring with them a well-thought out plan or proposal for advancing disparities work in their organization as well as the support of senior leadership from their organizations. Technical assistance is provided through three interactive web-based conference calls for the group, and two interactive web seminars on additional learning topics tailored to the most pressing needs of participations. In addition, participants receive real-time assistance through one-on-one coaching calls. Participants are also invited to participate in other DSC activities. Three quarters the way into the year (at month 9 of the program), the DLP has a two-day meeting where participants present their work and lessons learned. The DSC offers an innovation award for selected projects and the opportunity for award winners to present their work at national forums and conferences. To learn more about the Disparities Leadership Program, click here.