Printer-friendly versionFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 11, 2014 DETROIT - Henry Ford Health System has been named a finalist for 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 health system was honored recently at the Health Forum - AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego. The AHA Equity of Care Award was created to recognize outstanding efforts among hospitals and care systems to advance equity of care to all patients, and to spread lessons learned and progress toward achieving health equity.
In 2011, the AHA joined four national health care organizations to issue a call to action to eliminate health care disparities by focusing on increasing the collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data; increasing cultural competency training; and increasing diversity in governance and leadership.
"The work of these hospitals and health systems in promoting and improving equitable care is something the field can embrace and build on," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "They are leaders who are pushing us forward to ensure that all patients receive the highest quality of care and that hospitals reflect the communities they serve."
Henry Ford has undertaken many efforts to increase diversity in its leadership and governance. The health system has established Employee Resource Groups that provide professional and personal growth opportunities for employees, and these employees are often sought out by senior leaders to identify a diverse set of employees to serve on health system committees. In addition, at least 20 percent of employees in Henry Ford leadership training academies and succession plans must be women and minorities, and candidates interviewed for director positions and above must reflect the diversity of the available applicant pool.
"We are honored to receive this important recognition of our strategies to further equity as well as diversity, as both are among our highest priorities at Henry Ford," said Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., Senior Vice President of Community Health & Equity and Chief Wellness Officer. "With much work still to do to eliminate health disparities in the era of population health, we applaud the AHA for making these efforts a national priority as well," Wisdom said.
Cultural competency training is a core function of Henry Ford's health care equity efforts. HFHS offers a series of physician and leadership development academies, and each one incorporates a session on health care equity and/or diversity. This year, the health system is launching the first class of the Henry Ford Healthcare Equity Scholars Program, a year-long training series for 20 mid- to upper-level leaders that focuses on improving skills to address disparities in health care.
Henry Ford also has standardized demographic information collected from patients as well as the process used to collect it, obtaining self-reported data on ethnicity, race, country of origin, English language proficiency, and preferred language.
The health system works with numerous faith-based and community partners to improve health, wellness and equity. Examples include:• a program that provides a 40-hour training class and resources to nurses and laypersons working in congregational health ministry and school-based clinics• a program funded by Henry Ford and three other competing health systems, as well as major foundations, that deploys community health workers to support women (both pregnant and not) with gaining access to social, community and health resources for their families in order to decrease the alarmingly high rates of infant mortality in Detroit
The Equity of Care Award will be presented annually by the AHA. Hospitals were required to complete an application describing their efforts to provide equitable care and had to participate in the Institute for Diversity in Health Management's most recent benchmarking survey on diversity and disparities.
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About the AHAThe AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at www.aha.org.
About Henry Ford Health SystemHenry Ford Health System, one of the largest and most comprehensive integrated U.S. health care systems, is a national leader in clinical care, research and education. The system includes the 1,100-member Henry Ford Medical Group, six hospitals, Health Alliance Plan (a health insurance and wellness company), Henry Ford Physician Network, a 150-site ambulatory network and many other health-related entities throughout southeast Michigan, providing a full continuum of care. In 2013, Henry Ford provided $314 million in uncompensated care. The health system also is a major economic driver in Michigan and employs more than 23,000 employees. Henry Ford is a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. The health system is led by CEO Nancy Schlichting. To learn more, visit HenryFord.com.