History

PrintThe creation of The Disparities Solutions Center follows and builds upon a commitment by MGH to respond to national and local calls to action to eliminate disparities in health care. For a summary of the DSC’s current and past programs, please watch the video below.

2002


The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the landmark report Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, which revealed striking disparities in the quality of health care services delivered to minority and white patients. As a result, the IOM urged the development of interventions and educational efforts to eliminate disparities.

2003


MGH established a system-wide Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities to focus internal attention on the challenge of disparities, improve the collection of race/ethnicity data, and implement quality improvement programs to reduce disparities.

2005


In June, following a two-year process involving health experts, community leaders, and city residents, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino launched a citywide project aimed at eliminating disparities in health care. The Mayor’s recommendations included concrete action steps for hospitals and other health care organizations.

In July, MGH launched the Disparities Solutions Center, a first-of-its-kind national center dedicated to developing policies and changing the delivery of care to help eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

The DSC and the MGH/MGPO Center for Quality and Safety collaborated to produce the MGH Annual Report on Equity in Healthcare Quality (formerly known as the Disparities Dashboard) to analyze key quality measures stratified  by race, ethnicity, and language; identify areas for quality improvement; and report on the progress of initiatives addressing disparities at MGH. Although race and ethnicity data have been collected routinely at the MGH for several years, this data was not routinely analyzed or reported prior to developing this report in 2005. The AREHQ was one of the first of its kind in the nation and is now produced annually.

2007


The DSC launches the Disparities Leadership Program, the first program of its kind in the nation designed for leaders from hospitals, health insurance plans, and other health care organizations who are seeking to develop practical strategies to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

2008


The DSC was honored with a Community Leader Award from Health Care for All, an organization dedicated to creating an affordable, accessible and culturally competent health care system. The DSC was selected for its commitment to providing essential research, education and training in eliminating racial and ethnic health care disparities.

The Chelsea Diabetes Program, a collaborative effort among the DSC, MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center, Massachusetts General Physician Organization, and Center for Community Health Improvement, received a 2008 Program of Excellence award from the Diabetes Coalition of Massachusetts. The Program of Excellence award is given to organizations with innovative and multidisciplinary initiatives that contribute significantly to the field of diabetes prevention, education, or management.

2009


Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino appointed Dr. Joseph Betancourt, The Director of the Disparities Solutions Center, to the Boston Public Health Commission’s Board of Health. 

2010

The DSC marked its fifth anniversary with an celebration including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as a featured speaker.

2012


The DSC hosted its first Healthcare Quality and Equity Action Forum to provide leaders from multiple disciplines and health care organizations with the background, key drivers, and essential strategies to improve quality and achieve equity in a time of rapid healthcare system change.

2013


The DSC developed the Pediatric Health Equity Collaborative, comprising of 11 organizations working together with the goals of establishing best practices, lessons learned, and recommendations for the field with regard to race, ethnicity, language, and other demographic data collection in pediatric care settings.

The Association of American Medical Colleges awarded the DSC the AAMC Learning Health System Challenge award for its work on disparities, equity and quality improvement.

2014


MGH received the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) inaugural Equity of Care Award for its efforts to reduce health care disparities and promote diversity within the organization’s leadership and staff.

The DSC released its Annual Report on Equity in Health Care Quality to the public in its entirety for the first time.

2015


The DSC celebrated its ten year anniversary with an event jointly celebrated with the Center for Community Health Improvement at MGH. Garth Graham, President of the Aetna Foundation and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Health and Human Services, was the featured speaker.