Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council
At Cooley Dickinson we are committed to achieving an environment of inclusion and equity that respects, affirms and leverages the rich backgrounds and life experiences of the Pioneer Valley’s multicultural communities. Across our health care system we are mindful of all aspects of human differences, such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, geography, disability and age. We recognize that excellence in all aspects of care and service delivery can only be achieved when staff, patients, and residents genuinely connect and engage across cultures to create health equity.
The Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council of Cooley Dickinson was established in 2014 to help us achieve this vision.
Guided by the needs of our patients, and the talents of a diverse and inclusive workforce, we support efforts to help Cooley Dickinson deliver equitable health care in a culturally responsive, compassionate way and to improve the health and well-being of the diverse communities we serve.
- Diversify the workforce and governance to reflect and leverage the diversity of populations served
- Enhance cultural and linguistic competency to improve safety and quality of care
- Eliminate health disparities to advance equity, quality and value
To learn more about the work of the DEI Council and some of its initiatives to make the Cooley Dickinson Community more inclusive and healthcare more equitable, follow the links to the right.
Diversity & Inclusion
Have you ever requested a female provider for your OB/GYN care? Ever felt relief when your doctor explains your treatment plan to you in a language you can understand? Do you feel more welcome in a doctor’s office when you see people who look like you providing care?
You’re not alone. Studies have found that when a provider and patient share the same cultural backgrounds, patient satisfaction and self-rated quality of care are higher. And these, in turn, are closely linked to more positive health outcomes.
The combined forces of health reform and demographic shifts in the U.S. make increasing diversity in the workforce and in leadership positions a priority across the country and at Cooley Dickinson. Leveraging the power of diverse talent will allow us to expand health care access for all and enrich the pool of managers and policymakers to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse community.
Diversifying our workforce does not mean that we are only able to care for and serve people like ourselves. All of us need to strengthen skills in communicating and healing across cultures. We all must have a firm understanding of how and why different belief systems, cultural biases, ethnic origins, family structures, and a host of other culturally determined factors influence the way people experience illness, adhere to medical advice, and respond to treatment. Such differences are real and translate into real differences in the outcomes of care. Being “culturally competent” in health care means:
- Treating every patient with equal respect and dignity regardless of culture, ethnicity, gender identity or social status
- Having knowledge of important customs, values, and health beliefs for different cultural groups
- Having the skills to communicate well with any patient to explore how customs, values, and health beliefs may affect clinical care
In a recent study, Hampshire County was named one of the healthiest counties in the U.S. Yet on some of the most important indicators, like how long we live, too many residents don’t have the same opportunities to be as healthy as others. This isn’t fair, it isn’t safe, and it’s costly.
At Cooley Dickinson, we want to raise the bar for everyone; that’s why we’re working to eliminate health care disparities that we know exist in the Valley–like higher rates of diabetes and asthma among blacks and Latinos, and lower rates of cancer screening among LGBT residents. Studies show that these actions not only help us close the health divide, but increase the quality of care delivered to all patients.
Did you know…
…that 31% of gay and bisexual men say they don’t have a regular place to go to receive medical care or do not have a regular physician? Or that transgender people have a high prevalence of mental health issues, HIV, STIs, but are the least likely population to have health insurance? Did you know that lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to be overweight or obese, more likely to smoke, and less likely to get screened for breast and cervical cancers compared to heterosexual women? And, that for LGBT people of color, these risks are even higher? If you live an actively high-risk lifestyle with multiple sexual partners (or just one who hasn’t been tested) do you know about HIV PrEP? (It could save your life).
Cooley Dickinson Health Care acknowledges LGBT populations as a unique health care demographic, and we work to highlight that demographic in our community outreach as one that is at elevated risk for many health concerns. Click HERE to learn about LGBTQ care at Cooley Dickinson.