Melting Pot: An Institutional Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At Honor Health, a multi-hospital system, a new “Melting Pot” initiative aims to build trust by fostering diversity, equity and inclusion to create a comfortable work environment in which all employees feel that they are included, seen, and heard. A network of central and localized virtual learning communities, enhanced by a robust and replicable collection of educational resources, tools and speakers, supports candid communication and engagement. How does this build trustworthiness? The initiative emphasizes the importance of listening and communication to build trust and enhance equity.

How It Works

In fall 2020, the HonorHealth IT department developed a virtual learning community (VLC), ‘Melting Pot’. In partnership with IT, the Library Staff developed a complementary, interactive site with resources on systemic racism and strategies to promote health equity. Resources include a comprehensive definition of diversity that embraces ethnicity, culture, LGBTQ, gender inequities, and (dis)ability.

Objectives for this collaborative initiative include:

  1. Create Virtual Learning Communities (VLC) within HonorHealth, a network of six community hospitals and over 70 outpatient clinics:
    1. Create a governance structure for “local,” hospital-based VLC.
    2. Measure the impact of the VLC on employee knowledge, skill, and attitudes on working in a diverse and inclusive work environment.
    3. Measure the impact of the VLC on knowledge, skill, and attitudes of health equity in key departments (i.e., GME, PS/QI, IT).

Skills and Competencies

The Melting Pot is an action-oriented group formed to foster an inclusive work environment within the Transformation Department (IT, Marketing, EPMO) at HonorHealth. The primary objective is for all employees to feel that they work for a diverse and inclusive department and that they are included, seen, and heard.

Origins

With the current COVID pandemic and national protests bringing systemic racism and health inequities into the spotlight, HonorHealth, an integrated health system with a robust GME program, convened a Health Equity Taskforce that developed a framework for the change that is needed in our institution.

We are in the process of undergoing a system-wide review of health equity in order to build trust among employees, patients, and community members, Trust is a crucial component of safe, patient-centered care.

Effectiveness

This network-wide initiative just launched in the fall. However, hospitals have already started building their own VLC to include guest speakers, confidential and anonymous chats about topics in DEI, book and resource sharing sites, and customized features that are specific to the needs of the patients and community (i.e., geographic location, demographics of the patient population, local community features, etc.).

The HonorHealth librarians created a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) guide as an education resource. Content includes teaching resources, webinars and podcasts, COVID-revealed inequity data, and tools and resources for members of the community to make a difference as an individual, as a leader, and as an organization. The Library Staff purchased foundational books for staff, including The Health Gap, by Michael Marmot; How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi; and Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington. Resources have been integrated into GME programs, including Family Medicine, Clinical Informatics, Internal Medicine, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Scalability

Local Virtual Learning Communities (VLC) are being built by hospitals in the HonorHealth network, using a customizable template. Similarly, the library-based DEI guide is being used throughout the network, particularly by GME programs in educational delivery. Both can be modeled and scaled for use by other institutions.