Over the years, HealthTeamWorks has provided healthcare organizations with trainings, consulting services, and technical assistance to ensure the successful and sustainable implementation of best practices for value-based success. Our direct, often long-term engagement with practices and systems emphasized the need to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across the healthcare workforce to make true and lasting impacts.
That is because, whether individual or institutional, discrimination within healthcare has profound effects on health outcomes, and care delivery occurs within inherently discriminatory social systems. This discrimination, be it racism, sexism, ageism, classism, or transphobia, erodes the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of people and communities, contributing to the health disparities and inequities we see today.
Unfortunately, it remains common within the health environment for inequity to be framed as a problem of the people who are its targets, with attempts to address perceived needs or shortcomings within these groups. However, there must be responses to remedy the social structures causing this marginalization and the exacerbating actions – whether conscious or not – of those who receive privilege from these same oppressive social structures.
With this context, HealthTeamWorks set out to support care teams in the journey of allyship and in taking actions aligned with the self-stated needs of groups burdened by discrimination. All of this in hopes of dismantling the discriminatory policies, practices, and beliefs that contribute to health inequity.
That is why our comprehensive Allyship Development Program engages participants to reflect on how their clinic, department, or health system may have day-to-day practices that reflect and reinforce systems of inequity and sustain health disparities. It requires them to recognize, name, and understand the attitudes and actions that enable health inequities to persist and grow if not challenged.
Most importantly, this work is about convening, community, and connecting, and is based on the deep value of lived experience in effective care delivery. Our population-based and customizable approach emphasizes engaging Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to develop a rich understanding of self-stated community member needs.
Additionally, we provide several Allyship focus areas within our program including:
Recognition of the need to address implicit bias, inequitable practices and policies, and clinical-community disconnect is growing, and health equity is becoming a key value, particularly in value-based care. In Colorado, for example, the development of a standardized health insurance plan considers such training. And CMMI’s newly refreshed strategic objectives aim to advance health equity2 – a goal that cannot be achieved without beginning at the frontlines, looking towards providers, staff, and leadership.
We invite you all – a community of collaborators, conveners, and change-maker – to engage in discussion and action around discrimination within healthcare, what our role is, and what we can do to help dismantle it.
If you or your healthcare organization are interested in learning more about our allyship services, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Katie Ebinger, MPH, MSW - Facilitator, Advancement & Healthcare Transformation, HealthTeamWorks