ANOTHER MGH FIRST: Betancourt, third from right, accepts the AHA Equity of Care Award in San Diego.
The American Hospital Organization (AHA) has awarded the MGH the first-ever AHA Equity Care Award in recognition of its efforts to reduce health care disparities and promote diversity within the hospital’s leadership and staff.
Joseph Betancourt, MD, director of the Disparities Solutions Center (DSC), accepted the award on behalf of the organization at the Health
Forum-AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego on July 21.
DSC is an action-oriented organization with a practical focus on moving the issue of disparities in health care beyond research and into the arenas of policy and practice.
It serves as a national, regional and local resource for hospitals and other key health care stakeholders.
“It was an incredible honor, and I certainly felt humbled by the amount of attention and admiration we got from the close to 2,000 people in attendance,” Betancourt says. “Without a doubt people expressed how they have always viewed the MGH as a leader in this area and that this was a very well-deserved recognition for our work.”
In 2003, the MGH created a systemwide committee on racial and ethnic disparities to focus internal attention on the challenge of disparities, improve the collection of racial and ethnicity data, and implement quality improvement programs. Two years later in 2005, the DSC was established in response to local and national calls to address disparities in health care.
“For more than 10 years, the MGH has taken a very deliberate, disciplined approach to making sure that we identify and address any disparities in care that might exist at our hospital,” says Betancourt. “It’s a real testament to our leadership for having the vision to move this issue forward and to support our work in this area. We are committed to delivering high-quality care to anyone who enters our doors.”
In terms of future goals, the MGH intends on doing more in the area of training doctors, nurses and front-line staff in team-based communication and cross cultural care. Additionally, the hospital plans to make its Annual Report on Healthcare Quality and Equity – which routinely monitors performance on disparity – more robust.
“This is the work of the entire MGH community,” Betancourt says. “I’m thankful for that, and it was on behalf of our entire organization that I accepted the award.”
Read more articles from the 07/25/14 Hotline issue.