HANYS’ health equity collaborative bridges intention to action
Advancing Healthcare Excellence and Inclusion provides education, tools and support to help New York hospitals and health systems achieve their health equity goals.
Health equity — it’s one of healthcare’s buzziest phrases. But New York hospitals aren’t just talking about it, they’re actively working to achieve it. HANYS’ Advancing Healthcare Excellence and Inclusion learning collaborative is supporting a cohort of hospitals across the state in their work to identify and address healthcare disparities.
Advancing Healthcare Excellence and Inclusion
Launched in 2022 with the generous support of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, AHEI has three focus areas:
- improving the collection of patient demographic data;
- building or strengthening community coalitions; and
- designing targeted health equity and social determinants of health interventions.
“Our hospitals recognize that equity is a foundational component to delivering high-quality care. Many have already started doing this work,” said AHEI director Morgan Black, MPA. “The goal of our program is to meet our members where they are and to help them reach that next level.” Black said.
Learning to build coalitions, together
Through AHEI, HANYS’ dedicated team of seasoned experts is providing direct support to a select group of hospitals in the Mohawk/Hudson Valley, North Country and downstate regions. While this customized coaching is only available to hospitals in the target regions right now, resources and webinar recordings on data collection and community coalition building are available to anyone.
“There are a lot of reasons why engagement with folks outside of the hospital is important,” said Theresa Green, PhD, MBA, director, community health policy and education, URMC Center for Community Health & Prevention, who led AHEI’s series on community coalition building. “Number one, the problems of health are not due to healthcare. They're due to things outside. So if we're in the business of improving health, we have to be in the business of thinking about things outside of healthcare delivery.”
In addition to exploring the why of community engagement, Dr. Green helped participants understand the how — like figuring out the best way to reach community partners and engage them in leadership decisions.
Prioritizing health equity
Providing education and support for New York hospitals and health systems has long been a part of HANYS’ mission. Support from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation enabled HANYS to deepen and focus its quality improvement work to support our members’ health equity goals.
“People are excited to do this work,” Dr. Green said. “I think we’re all on this learning journey to figure out what is the best way to address health equity.” AHEI connects that excitement with practical tools to make real change.
“Helping our hospitals build the infrastructure to understand priorities at the community level and identify local partners — that's something new that HANYS is doing and it's really exciting,” Black said.
AHEI’s first year has been a learning experience for participants and HANYS alike.
“We’re learning every day from our hospitals. They’ve shared insights about local priorities, available resources and community partners and strategies they’re developing and testing in real-time,” Black said. “We’re looking forward to our virtual showcase where our teams will share lessons learned.”
Creating lasting change takes time, and HANYS hopes to continue this work in the years ahead. Pending the availability of additional grant funds for year two, HANYS will welcome new hospitals and health systems to participate and address emerging priorities, including workforce, diversity and inclusion and the ever-growing list of regulatory requirements around health equity.
“It’s difficult work, but we’re all on the journey together,” Dr. Green said. “The fact that we're thinking about healthcare differently and adapting to a changing community and changing the environment is all good news.”