At Healthforce Center, equity is a core value, as demonstrated in the projects that we pursue: building pipelines of diverse health leaders, strengthening the cultural competency of clinicians, evaluating the ability of new care models to reduce health disparities in underserved communities, and increasing understanding of how new provider roles can advance health equity.
We also ensure equitable approaches and processes in how we collaborate with each other, partners, funders, vendors, and applicants and participants of our programs. We aim to create a strong and agile organization that is enriched by diverse perspectives and ideas and increases belonging so that people can thrive and do their best work. Whether overhauling our hiring and recruiting practices, increasing accountability for advancing our diversity and equity goals, or engaging collectively as an organization to be anti-racist, we are continuously striving to center equity in our work.
Highlights of our efforts to advance health equity include:
Developing awareness and strategies that intentionally advance health equity through quality improvement efforts in primary care to address worsening health disparities. Hosted a two-day meeting with national leaders, published a meeting summary, and created a resources collection for the California Improvement Network.
- Examining the training, reimbursement, and certification for community health workers in California for the Blue Shield of California Foundation. An expansion of CHW roles has the potential to improve socioeconomic, ethnic, and health disparities among patients, and provide economic development opportunities by providing entry-level jobs for individuals who are typically underrepresented in health care.
- Developing a curriculum in cultural competence to teach clinicians how to deliver equitable care and spurring the development of train-the-trainer workshops for over 1,000 educators, interprofessional clinicians, and leaders in delivery systems (including Mayo Clinics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of California, Mission Health), national professional organizations, and other institutions.
- Publishing a 2020 issue brief on increasing racial and ethnic diversity in medical schools to diversify California physicians so that clinicians better reflect the communities they serve.
- Developing and disseminating a series of issue briefs in 2018 of factors affecting workforce diversity in medicine and dentistry and generating recommendations for funders and policymakers with support from The California Wellness Foundation. One brief summarized barriers to increasing underrepresented minorities (URMs) in health professions and presented a framework for recruitment and retention of trainees, and recommended strategies and policies.
- Creating a two-part guide to increase the capacity of health care organizations to integrate equity into quality improvement efforts in 2012. The work was part of the ACTION (ACT using information, opportunities, and networks to provide culturally competent health care) project funded by The California Endowment. The project aimed to help California health care organizations develop capacity to deliver equitable care with funding, technical assistance, and access to needed information, QI tools, and solutions.
- Running the LEAD (Leadership, Education, Accountability, and Dissemination for Advancing Quality through Culturally Responsive Care) program in 2008 with support from The California Endowment. LEAD increased leadership and QI skills for safety-net hospital leaders working to decrease health disparities.
- Managing the Clinic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders Program (CLI) to prepare the next generation of community health center leaders to be effective agents of change, both within their organizations and in the safety-net field broadly, in partnership with the Blue Shield of California Foundation.