Solidifying our Commitment: MaineHealth’s First Ever Five-Year DEI Strategic Plan
DEI isn’t just a program or initiative. It requires everyone to be involved and to be open to learning, growing, and experiencing more. Watch MaineHealth care team members share their views on the importance of DEI, both to them as individuals, and to MaineHealth as an organization.
Just two years ago in 2020, MaineHealth made a commitment to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) across the health system. Last year, Ryan Polly, PhD, M.Ed was selected as the first ever Vice President for DEI. And in May 2022, MaineHealth approved its first ever five-year strategic plan for DEI, which outlines specific goals in three key areas:
- Patients & Population: Develop functions to support and advance equitable care for every MaineHealth patient
- People: Foster an inclusive culture and increase diversity throughout all levels of MaineHealth
- Value: Establish an infrastructure to ensure alignment and continuous improvement of our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
“We’re laying the ground work. Over the past year we’ve shifted to emphasizing DEI and we are starting to evaluate everything we do through a DEI lens,” said Polly. MaineHealth is working to prioritize and embed DEI throughout the organization to ensure that its decisions and processes are equitable, that diversity of experiences, thought, and identities are considered, and to be more inclusive in decision making. Polly explained, “While this process is just beginning, we have made a number of impacts over the past year. Although change will take time, MaineHealth is committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and health equity, and to providing the best care for all our patients.”
Take a look at our FY22 DEI Impacts:
– English Language Learning Program and onsite career coach program developed in collaboration with Workforce Development for ongoing career development and community support.
– Pronouns field added to employee business cards, highlighting the importance of using correct pronouns as a way of affirming identities.
– Transgender Experience course developed; Belonging at Work, DEI Ambassador program, other courses now offered throughout the year.
– Updated MyChart and letter templates in Epic so communications to patients use chosen first name rather than legal first name.
– Began utilizing workforce development grant from Alfond Foundation to pilot new DEI education programs.
– Workgroups were mobilized to strategize around goals for the DEI strategic plan.
– Business cards updated with larger font for those with low vision.
– Leadership trainings, both in groups and one-on-one taking place throughout the system.
– Started creating educational content and care team member resource guides for DEI observances.
– BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Care Team Member Network organizes MaineHealth’s first Black History Month Panel Discussion.
– Consulted with LGBTQ+ Care Team Member Network to partner with MaineHealth Medical Group and Brand team to recommend a more inclusive name for Women’s Health practices by changing it to Ob/Gyn.
– Expansion of recognized religious observances at Maine Medical Center.
– Onboarding tip sheet created for managers to help promote a culture of inclusion.
– Maine Medical Center received a grant from Tufts to update dermatology curriculum and training for residents to reduce health disparities resulting from the types of skin images presented.
– BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Care Team Member Network leads Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Panel Discussion.
– Moved Director Interpreter Services to a system level department reporting into quality with a dotted line to DEI.
– MaineHealth’s first ever five-year strategic plan approved for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
– BIPOC Care Team Member Network hosted a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony at Southern Maine Health Care.
– Southern Maine Health Care changed its application form for employment to be more gender inclusive.
– Worked with Access Training staff to diversify training patient profiles in the Epic practice environment.
– New email signature standards developed with pronouns options and education about why people list pronouns.
– MaineHealth has delegation at Pride Portland! Parade. Ryan Polly served as Grand Marshal for the parade. During Pride Month, flag raisings and other activities took place across the health system.
– LGBTQ+ Care Team Member Network hosts a Pride Month Panel Discussion.
– Employee information fields in MaineHealth’s workforce management tool were updated to include gender identity and chosen name.
– Library and Knowledge Services DEI webpage created to reflect a more diverse selection of books, articles and other resources.
– Audited mandatory compliance trainings for inclusive language/access concerns. Offered suggestions to be incorporated in future iterations.
– LGBTQ+ Care Team Member Network Steering Committee reviewed cancer screening intake forms and provided suggestions about inclusive language to genetic counseling team.
– Hired MaineHealth’s first Translation Program Manager to lead the translation of vital patient care documents across MaineHealth.
– In partnership with Gateway to Opportunity (G2O), graduated three student interns whose presentation, “The Dangers of ACES” was published by MaineHealth.
– Provided consultation to utilize inclusive language on MaineHealth Medical Group’s standardized form for Breast Cancer Screening.
– Provider Cross Cultural Medical Assessment tool deployed to help educate providers to respond more effectively to the diverse needs of patients.
DEI “By the Numbers” from the Past Year
Pilot Project Translates Patient Education Materials
Just one example of DEI impact over the past year involved a project that required collaboration between patient education, interpreter services, marketing, clinical informatics and a clinical team. These groups worked together to translate newborn nursery discharge instructions into 10 languages. The process to make these new patient education materials available required getting content standardized system-wide, translated, and incorporated into the electronic medical record. Watch the short video to learn more:
By giving patients educational information in their language, MaineHealth can help improve patient outcomes and provide peace of mind. And there is now a process to meet future translation requests. “Health literacy empowers and drives equity,” said Kayla Sargent, program manager, MaineHealth Education and Training, and DEI Ambassador. “My team is committed to ensuring that our English Language Learners are given equitable opportunities to engage in their health care, manage their conditions and make informed decisions about their health. We partnered with MaineHealth Interpreter Services to develop standard work as a first step to improving our capacity to provide translated patient education.”
From forms updates, to naming conventions, to patient care and workforce development – these are just a few of the many important steps taken as MaineHealth begins its DEI journey.