Addressing health care challenges best seen through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be ongoing conversations among leaders across AdventHealth, including in the Mid-America and Rocky Mountain regions.
Over the years, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in the Mid-America Region has spearheaded several community outreach initiatives targeted at stimulating economic empowerment among racial and ethnic minority groups. The most recent initiative is a Career Day event. In addition to addressing a need for workforce development, the move can play an important part in helping AdventHealth achieve its goal of having a team that reflects the diversity of the communities it serves. In the same vein, Centura Health, whose Adventist facilities form part of AdventHealth’s Rocky Mountain Region, has put a number of measures in place to address issues of health equity within its organization and the communities it serves.
Providing Career Opportunities in Health Care for Refugee Communities
AdventHealth Shawnee Mission hosted a Career Day event last year for students from a neighborhood where many refugee families live. About 30 students, ages 13 to 18, came to the hospital to learn more about career opportunities in health care.
The students were invited through New Change for Youth, a youth group for refugee families in Wyandotte County. New Change for Youth (also known as NC4Y) was co-founded by Anna Coridan, RN, who was a surgical nurse at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission and moved to the neighborhood in Wyandotte County several years ago after doing mission work in Nepal.
“The goal of the event was to help kids learn more about the different types of health care careers that are open to them,” said Jeanette Metzler, community benefit manager at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. With Coridan’s guidance, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission has been working with the community to learn more about their needs. The families moved to Kansas City from various areas, including countries in Asia and Africa.
“We want to help them be successful in finding careers and providing for their families,” said Metzler. “AdventHealth’s goal is to look at health care from a wholistic perspective. We want to provide support as they adjust to life in a new country.”
The event was organized by Chris Vogel, community sourcing team lead for AdventHealth talent acquisition. In his role, he reaches out to organizations and schools in underserved areas to talk about the different roles at the hospital. Workforce Partnership in Kansas City partners with AdventHealth to provide resources for the program.
“The students were briefed on the 20 different jobs available to 18-year-olds,” said Vogel. “Some of those are clinical and some are non-clinical. Some require training and others don’t.”
The students spent the afternoon at the hospital learning about the different roles, education requirements and other qualifications. They also learned about logistics, including time commitment and scheduling classes.
A follow-up event was held a few weeks later in the neighborhood community center where the students learned more about interviewing and job skills. Dressed in professional business attire, they practiced their interviewing skills and had their resumes reviewed by AdventHealth Shawnee Mission human resources team members.
“They were really engaged and excited about the event, which has dominated discussions during youth group meetings,” said Vogel.
With the event getting positive reviews from the students, Vogel said they hope to hold the event every year and find new ways to build on it.
“Our goal is to stay in touch with them, and for them to apply, get hired and work at AdventHealth someday,” he said. “We hope that they’ll decide to start their health care journey here.”
For more information about community outreach at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, visit AdventHealthKC.com.
Advancing Efforts Through First Ever Health Equity and Advancement Fund
At Centura Health, diversity, equity and inclusion are more than just concepts – they are part of the way its patients, communities and colleagues are cared for. Embracing a diverse and inclusive community has always been essential for the health system, but over the past year and a half, significant efforts have been set in motion to be more intentional and strategic about building a truly inclusive environment for caregivers and patients alike.
In 2019, a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council was convened, and in 2020, Centura created a social justice framework to define the health system’s guiding principles and outline its approach to addressing health disparities and expanding community impact initiatives in the communities it serves across Colorado and western Kansas. A dedicated diversity & inclusion (D&I) department was established to lead efforts in this area.
To better support their caregivers and create a more inclusive environment at every Centura facility, the D&I department is guiding the formation of diversity & inclusion councils across the system. Recognizing the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an annual day of prayer, reflection, dialogue and service, the day was established as a paid holiday for all Centura associates in 2021. Centura is also developing a strategy to highlight other occasions throughout the year to help celebrate the diversity of its associates, patients and communities.
This framework also has a deep impact on the way Centura delivers care. Recognizing that all people are made in the image of God and so possess an equal and inalienable worth, Centura is committed to caring for and nurturing all creation as well as actively participating in its communities. This means looking at reality through the eyes of those who have been impacted by oppression and injustice and joining together to change existing structures and systems.
One key way Centura has amplified its community efforts is through the creation of the Health Equity & Advancement Fund. This series of community grants, launched in 2021, was created to extend the impact of community efforts focused on advancing social justice through initiatives that support health equity across Colorado and western Kansas. Area non-profits were invited to apply if their work was focused on helping address health care equity issues with initiatives that focus on disproportionate unmet health-related needs, emphasizing primary prevention and address underlying conditions, contributing to a seamless continuum of care, building community capacity and addressing social determinants of health to improve health outcomes in the communities Centura serves.
Last year, 19 grants were awarded ranging from $25,000 to $87,720 with a focus on programs that serve diverse communities and/or populations, focus on diverse caregivers and leverage collaborations with other partners to increase social impact.
Recipient organizations are doing vital community work that represents a broad range of populations and community needs: food insecurity, homelessness, mental well-being, health disparities among people of color, veterans’ health needs, support for refugees, resources and hope for victims of domestic violence, support for people who have been imprisoned to leave jail and flourish, access to care in rural communities, and the specific health needs experienced by people with physical disabilities.
“The grant recipients for our first Health Equity & Advancement Fund are truly committed to increasing opportunities for everyone in their community to live the healthiest life possible. They are advancing health equity through innovative social justice programs that address the persistent gaps that create barriers to having healthy communities,” said Oswaldo Grenardo, MD, senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Centura Health. “Their programs help curate our vision to make every community, every neighborhood, every life whole and healthy. We are excited to support these organizations that inspire positive change.”
You can learn more about Centura Health’s Equity & Advancement Fund and the incredible work being done by recipient organizations at Centura.org/Community-Impact/Social-Justice.