WIHI: Working Toward Health Equity

Date: February 13, 2014


  • Tessa Kerby, MPH, Manager, Measurement and Organizational Improvement, HealthPartners
  • Yvonne Coghill, OBE, Senior Program Lead – Inclusion and Coaching, NHS Leadership Academy
  • Dave Johnson, MBA, Regional Clinic Director in Primary Care, HealthPartners Medical Group
  • Donald A. Goldmann, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Andrew Loehrer, MD, General Surgery Resident, Massachusetts General Hospital
In theory, quality improvement has the built-in capacity to reduce health care disparities and bridge gaps in outcomes and in the experience of care across race and ethnicity. After all, if you’re reliably implementing proven and effective care processes for patients suffering a heart attack, or having a stroke, or dealing with depression, or struggling with obesity, shouldn’t these interventions lift all boats? Would that it were that simple. Decades of research on health care disparities continue to point out how entrenched the problems are and how often even the most well-intentioned efforts miss the mark. However, we’re also now learning that where health care equity across race and ethnicity has improved, strategies have been truly pressure-tested and are multi-faceted.
What are some of these strategies, and what kinds of fresh thinking underpin them? Please listen to this WIHI on Working Toward Health Equity, to hear about progress that’s being made to reduce health disparities in ways that everyone can learn from. At HealthPartners, innovative and deliberate processes are dramatically closing gaps between white patients and patients of color undergoing breast and colorectal cancer screenings. Dr. Andrew Loehrer and colleagues are documenting powerful connections between insurance coverage and more equal access to certain surgeries. Yvonne Coghill and others at the NHS are demonstrating the critical need for a diverse workforce and, as important, making sure that diverse workforce is treated equitably and fairly. This, by any measure, helps ensure that all patients are treated fairly, too.  
IHI’s Dr. Don Goldmann joined our conversation to talk about how we move from an era of mountains of crucial and valuable research documenting lack of equity and health care disparities, to one that is solutions-focused and anchored by cultural competency in word and deed.


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