Our surrounding communities are continually changing. Northwell Health is constantly improving our diversity, inclusion and health literacy strategy to align with the needs of our communities. Through research and hands-on experience, we have found that promoting effective communication and cultural and language proficiency leads to:
- Improved patient and family-centered care,
- Elimination of health disparities, and
- Enhanced health outcomes for patients and their families.
In 2014, Northwell Health re-established the Dignity & Respect Campaign, encouraging all employees to make an “Action Pledge” that demonstrates their commitment and dedication to health equity. Our innovative educational programs and resources promote a culture of dignity and respect, and foster an environment of inclusion. We encourage our employees to bring their “whole selves” to work and provide tools for our workforce to value diversity, practice inclusion, and communicate effectively. In order to meet the needs of our patients, families and communities served, DIHL continues to embed effective communication strategies, cultural and linguistic competence, and patient- and family-centered care practices into the core activities of our health network.
Executive Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy Council
The Executive Diversity and Inclusion Council provides executive oversight to diversity, inclusion and health literacy programs and initiatives.The Executive Council is chaired by Michael Dowling, the president & chief executive officer of the health network, and is comprised of other members of senior leadership including the chief diversity and inclusion officer.
DIHL System Committee
The Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy (DIHL) System Committee is chaired by the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and meets quarterly to share best practices, foster collaboration and integrate DIHL principles throughout Northwell Health DIHL site champion(s) are established at each site/facility to integrate diversity, inclusion and health literacy into the fabric of the health network.
Physician Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy Advisory Council
The Physician Advisory Council was established in an effort to promote institutional excellence in patient care, patient health outcomes and research. Comprised of senior level full-time faculty members from the volunteer staff society and recommended service lines, the Physician Advisory Council is co-chaired by the chief medical officer and the chair of the Department of Medicine.
System Effective Communication Committee
In an effort to promote organizational changes necessary to enhance the alignment of healthcare demands with the abilities and skills of the communities we serve, multidisciplinary committees were established. A multidisciplinary System Patient Education Committee was created in 2011, which consisted of more than 30 staff members from network hospitals and various departments and service lines. The Committee members were appointed by their Executive Director or department/service line head as an individual who displayed a strong commitment to patient education. In 2012, DIHL assumed ownership of the Language and Communication Access Services (LCAS) Committee. In order to promote, sustain and advance an environment that supports principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and health literacy, these two Committees were combined in 2013 (Combined Health Literacy, Patient Education (HL/Pt. Ed) and Language and Communication Access Services (LCAS) Committee). The committee members are responsible for HL/Pt. Ed and LCAS at their respective facilities with corporate oversight from DIHL. In 2015, the committee was renamed the System Effective Communication Committee.
LGBT Patient Care Education Task Force
The LGBT Patient Care Education Task Force was created in 2012 to implement and evaluate a system-wide educational curriculum to build awareness around the unique needs and challenges facing the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) patient populations served by Northwell Health. DIHL and the Northwell Health Nursing Institute co-chair the Task Force to facilitate broad educational impact throughout the health network.
Membership incorporates Legal Affairs, Policy and Procedure, Community Relations, Chaplaincy, CLI, Graduate Medical Education, and Finance. The Task Force is composed of four internal Committees:
- Assessment of the current climate through the development of a survey tool to make recommendations about areas of need.
- Curriculum development to formalize the materials to be used for trainings and determine whether more are needed.
- Implementation of strategy to gain executive level awareness, and provide information and education to employees.
- Measuring success to produce evidence of promoting sustainable change through metrics and other deliverables.