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Henry Ford Health System Healthcare Equity Scholars Program

Project Description: The Healthcare Equity Scholars Program will be an outgrowth of an existing educational effort. It will be a year-long program designed to create experts in the field of healthcare equity, able to conduct research and quality improvement work aimed at eliminating healthcare disparities and to create organizational change at the departmental or institutional levels. In addition to attending skills-based workshops, each of the twenty participants will implement a project within their own department or business unit within the health system. A team of experts will be available to provide guidance and technical assistance on the projects, and successful ones will be spread throughout the System at an annual Quality Expo, and at leadership and board meetings. As our communities become increasingly diverse, it is important to have a cadre of health system employees capable of addressing the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse populations to ensure that there is equity in quality and safety, patient satisfaction, and employee engagement. The Healthcare Equity Scholars Program will serve that purpose.

2014 UPDATE: We have 16 projects or data analyses in progress.  Some of their questions include:

  • Among patients who participate in Diabetes Care Services, what are the differences in clinical outcomes between African American and non-African American patients?

  • How can we improve recruitment of minority patients into clinical trials at Henry Ford Hospital and decrease the number of minority patients who drop out of trials?

  • What methods/processes are effective for starting a conversation with African American patients about end-of-life care?

We have facilitated the linking of clinicians, researchers and educators by recruiting participants from different professional backgrounds.  Of our 20 participants, 4 are staff physicians, one is a resident, 7 are nurses (mostly nurse education specialists), 2 are social workers, and the rest are more administrative in areas such as Clinical Quality, Language Services, etc.   Participants are sharing that it has been valuable getting to know colleagues in other areas of the health system to be able to collaborate either on their equity projects or simply in areas of their day-to-day work.

Primary contact: Denise White-Perkins, M.D., Ph.D.; Director, Institute of Multicultural Health
Institution: Henry Ford Health System

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