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Published on July 27, 2018

Cone Health Honored for Work in Tackling Health Care Disparities

This marks the first time the American Hospital Association has recognized an organization for two consecutive years. 

For the second consecutive year, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has cited Cone Health as an honoree for its efforts to reduce health care disparities and advance diversity and inclusion. The award was presented July 27 at the AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego. This marks the first time an organization has been recognized in consecutive years.

“To be recognized for our work around diversity for two years in a row is a powerful yet humbling achievement,” says Paul Jeffrey, president, Wesley Long Hospital, senior vice president and chief inclusion officer, Cone Health. “It is validation of our commitment and dedication to health equity and a reminder to us of the journey ahead.”

Equity of Care

Laura Vail (2nd from left), director, Cone Health Office of Inclusion and Health Equity, accepts Cone Health's award during the AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego, CA.

“Every day, hospitals and health systems strive to be leaders, innovators and connectors in their communities, within their leadership and staff, and across the field,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “This year’s Equity of Care winner and honorees are pushing the field forward in diversity, inclusion and health equity. They have demonstrated that hospitals and health systems are committed to understanding the social determinants of health within their communities and are on the front lines of bridging the gaps of equity within the field.”

Addressing health care disparities is a strategic priority for Cone Health. Initiatives include efforts to find health care inequities to programs aimed at preventing them.

  • Cone Health recently created a team that looks for patterns in care and outcomes. The team then makes changes that improve care to those groups where care is not as effective as in other groups.
  • Cone Health leadership has undergone unconscious bias training. The training is being developed for front line staff.
  • The Area Health Education Center at Cone Health created a visual-based tool kit that provides basic health information to refugees who speak Swahili.

“Addressing health care inequity is very important work, especially because of the history and complexity of the communities we serve,” says Laura Vail, director, Cone Health Office of Inclusion and Health Equity. “Listening to our communities is vital. We would have never gotten this far without the Greensboro Health Disparities Collaborative and other community partners.”

The AHA Equity of Care Award is awarded annually and was created to recognize outstanding efforts among hospitals and health care systems to advance equity of care to all patients, and to spread lessons learned and progress toward achieving health equity. Applicants from across the country showcased measurable improvement in the performance of equity, diversity and inclusion within the hospital, health system or community and provided clear models for the field.

In addition to Cone Health, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois; Atrium Health, Charlotte; and Regional Health, Rapid City, South Dakota, will be recognized as honorees. Navicent Health is this year’s Equity of Care Winner.

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