This November, Edelman launched the quarterly “DEI: Beyond the Blueprint” — a salon-style event designed for audiences to expand their knowledgebase by hearing from panelists on a range of workplace culture, diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and health equity topics.
While Edelman’s Health sector organized this event, it was deliberately planned as relevant for leaders representing business, health, nonprofit, government, general DEI, etc. Our goal was to cast a wide net because, there are actionable pieces of intel that intersect across industries, leaders, and organizational types. What’s more is, every business is a healthcare business. If your business employs humans, you are in the business of healthcare. This conversation matters for your leaders, for your people, and for your business, as the health and well-being of the people that make the engine in your business roar, are directly tied to your success.
Action Earns Trust
While the "what" in DEI has been widely discussed, leaders and employees are hungry to better understand how to implement DEI strategies and programs across businesses. This conversation stepped beyond the basic DEI blueprint (representation stats, trainings, and written commitments) to focus on actionable intel that can be implemented and measured. Panelists discussed experiences, research, and programs that advance equity for internal stakeholders and for patient stakeholders.
Edelman’s recent Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and Health informed our panel’s conversation. The report revealed that 78% of employees expect their employer to play a meaningful role in ensuring they are as healthy as possible; that role might be creating a healthy office environment (68%), implementing health policies (66%), providing health incentives and information (62%) and offering mental health support and preventing burnout (47%).
TRUST IS A KEY DETERMINANT OF HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE DECISIONS
The increasing politicization of healthcare is undermining trust in healthcare systems globally, causing persistent inequities in access and outcomes, fueled by a widespread infodemic. The patient-provider relationship is the cornerstone of health outcomes and frames a patient’s healthcare journey. Addressing this critical relationship is a key component in increasing trust and confidence in the health ecosystem.
COMMODITIZATION OF HEALTHCARE AND EFFECTS ON HEALTH EQUITY
The delivery of equitable healthcare requires us to view individuals as patients rather than consumers. The Covid-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on the longstanding dearth of health data available on marginalized communities — persons living with disabilities, AAPI diaspora; Indigenous and Native communities. Improving health data can be accomplished by increasing diversity among researchers and data scientists.
NEWS MEDIA ARE CONVEYORS OF STORY AND CULTURE
Data show that health narratives can potentially improve outcomes and increase personal agency, critical to advancing equity. In the nearly three years since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that health narratives and health disparities journalism can also disrupt the infodemic’s effects among marginalized communities, especially when trusted messengers are utilized and amplified.
ACTIONS FOR TODAY
The takeaways can be summed up across four actions, informed by the Trust Barometer, necessary to achieve equity in health and business: individual (our biases), interpersonal (how we interact), institutional (policies and procedures) and societal (power dynamics, cultural narratives).
- Individual: Make a personal commitment to continuous education around topics like wage inequality, prejudice and discrimination, systemic racism and racial injustice, gender inequality, and LGBTQIA+ rights. Resource information.
- Interpersonal: Lead from your chair to disrupt inequity you witness. Set the tone for civil discourse publicly and encourage your connections to be ambassadors for civility in their interactions inside and outside the workplace. Resource information.
- Institutional: In partnership with impacted stakeholders, embed DEI across operations by setting clear DEI commitments, allocating resources, and providing support, access, and visibility to DEI leaders. Resource information.
- Societal: Address societal issues that align to your mission, values and give your people social impact through their work. Resource information.
Health disparities and institutional inequity have been an unyielding challenge in our country's past and present. From Covid-19's disproportionate impact on marginalized communities and the lack of queer-competent healthcare services for LGBTQIA+ individuals, to the dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths in rural areas (particularly in the U.S.), to social inequities that plague our society. However, we've reached a tipping point where people a are seizing this moment to push for change across many intersecting dimensions. Healthcare is no exception, and change starts with each of us taking action(s) today.
If you would like to learn more about Edelman’s Health DEI offering, connect with Amira Barger below: