Solidifying our Commitment: MaineHealth’s First Ever Five-Year DEI Strategic Plan

o Customer service representative Mowlid Hashi gives directions to a pretend visitor in MMC's main lobby

DEI isn’t just a program or initiative. It requires everyone to be involved and to be open to learning, growing, and experiencing more.

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:

DEI “By the Numbers” from the Past Year

Care Team Members who participated in DEI education
DEI Ambassadors across the system (all local health systems represented)
Collaborative hours spent developing the DEI strategic plan
Individuals provided input on the DEI strategic plan

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.