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Signals of progress, Signs of HOPE

The work of racial justice will be a marathon, not a sprint. There will be milestones along our journey to becoming an anti-racist institution. In the short-term (Fall 2020), the HOPE Commission coordinated a systemwide engagement process to develop recommendations for action in 2021. As a result of work plan implementation and continuous learning, we will develop greater capacity as individuals and an organization to deepen our work in 2022 and beyond. Whenever possible, we’ll make change quickly. At the same time, some changes will take more time, and we are committed to long-term transformation. At this early stage, thanks in part to recent suggestions from employees, successes include:

Winter 2021 Signals of progress, Signs of HOPE

ACKNOWLEDGING RACISM IS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS. Silence is complicity and for far too long, we have been too quiet on issues of systemic racism and health equity. Words matter, so we have signed onto key statements and made public commitments to leveraging our assets and resources to make much needed and long overdue changes to improve our outcomes and experiences. These include:

o   Minnesota’s health care CEOs join forces to address state’s disparities

o   It is undeniable: Racism is a public health crisis

o   30 Minnesota Companies Sign Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

STRENGTHENING REPRESENTATION IN CARE DELIVERY: In clinical medicine in particular, representative diversity (racial, ethnic and gender diversity reflective of the patient population) is linked to greater patient satisfaction, improved patient engagement in healthcare decisions, and improved health outcomes and health equity. Taking strides toward increased representative diversity, we expanded M Health Fairview Health Commons - Cedar Riverside to included enhanced primary care services to support our neighbors where Fairview Health Services is headquartered with a full-time RN who reflects the community she is serving. Additionally, M Health Fairview Ridges Hospital has been recognized as an “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in its 2020 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) report. Ridges Hospital is one of only four facilities in Minnesota to earn the distinction.

APPLYING AN EQUITY LENS TO COVID-19. In responding to COVID-19, M Health Fairview has deployed numerous programs aimed at addressing the social determinants of health and the health disparities laid bare by the pandemic. This includes providing multilingual outreach and community education materials; offering Cultural Broker navigation for Hmong and Karen COVID-19 patients following hospital discharge; and delivering thousands of culturally appropriate seasonal meals to local families impacted by the pandemic. In addition, we hosted 48 COVID-19 testing clinics conducting nearly 20,000 tests in partnership with cultural groups and community partner organizations led and trusted by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. As the MHFV Vaccine Incident Command continues to navigate our response to vaccine education and allocation, equity will remain a key lens for decision-making and resource distribution.

LEVERAGING ACADEMICS TO ADDRESS INEQUITY. The University of Minnesota Medical School developed a Disparities in COVID Response Task Force: a U-wide collaboration with Minnesota health departments, local and regional health care systems and communities to increase COVID testing and vaccinations in diverse communities and reduce disparity gaps by coordinating and disseminating resources on testing, mobile care, and immunization events, and a Mobile Health Initiative which  brings care to communities that have inadequate access to care--for example, the migrant workers who harvest Minnesota’s crops each summer.

Fall 2020 Signals of progress, Signs of HOPE

DATA COLLECTION IMPROVEMENTS. We need to do a much better job understanding issues like the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on various socioeconomic groups, and that means better data collection. On this front, major upgrades are underway. At first blush, this may seem dull and unimportant. But management guru Peter Drucker explained the importance of it well when he famously said: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

 

SPEAKING OUT ON POLICING REFORM. We joined other members of the Minnesota Business Partnership in calling for legislative reform of Minnesota law enforcement practices, such as training police officers in de-escalation techniques, training officers in working with people from different cultures, creating a special state government unit to investigate all officer-involved shootings, and making it less difficult to remove police officers with records of abuse.

 

ENCOURAGING VOTING. Recognizing that issues of equity are influenced by the outcomes of elections, we signed onto the VotER initiative to expand access to voting. The campaign will allow care providers to opt in to provide information about voter registration in a quick and easy, non-partisan way to increase participation and improve the civic health of our community.

 

EXECUTIVE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT. The M Health Fairview executive leadership team will undergo additional equity and inclusion training to strengthen their abilities to shape and lead an inclusive organizational culture for our employees, patients, and communities. Beginning in Fall 2020 the ELT will utilize the Intercultural Development Inventory in order to assess and expand individual and organizational capacity on our journey to becoming an increasingly anti-racist institution.

As the HOPE Commission efforts to lift up the work of those addressing issues of equity on the frontlines of our organization continues, we will continue to update about progress and success here.