Trinity Health Addresses Systemic Racism to Achieve Health Equity

by Savoy Staff

By LaRonda Chastang, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Trinity Health

“If health equity is for everyone to have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible, then we must address the barriers to optimal health,” says LaRonda Chastang, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Trinity Health.  As one of the first national health care systems to acknowledge “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” and the root cause of health inequity, Trinity Health positioned its diversity and inclusion efforts to end systemic racism by addressing the structural and cultural roots of racial inequality. This upstream approach, coupled with prevention and treatment efforts, ensures that Trinity Health is doing its part to end systemic racism and achieve health equity for those they serve.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health, based on this explanation,  integrated care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states.  In early 2020, Trinity Health, like other health systems, was met with undeniable challenges that altered the lives of people across the nation and beyond. “We are living in unprecedented times and facing three major challenges—a public health crisis with COVID-19, an economic crisis, and a social justice crisis,” said Mike Slubowski, Trinity Health president and CEO.

The health system’s Mission – “to be compassionate, transforming and healing presence in the communities we serve” – guided the framework of their diversity and inclusion strategic plan. Built upon this foundational Mission, Trinity Health’s diversity and inclusion primary pillars of focus include diversity in governance, talent, creating inclusive environments, diversifying supply chain and the elimination of health disparities.  Their transformative approach to the work allowed for a pivot into new targeted initiatives as an immediate response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and tense racial climate in the U.S.  With the support of Trinity Health’s board of directors and senior leaders, four priority actions were embedded into the diversity and inclusion strategic plan. “The four priority actions are not short-term solutions, but rather long-term strategies with accountability measures in place,” says LaRonda.

Those actions include:

  • Advocating for racial justice
  • Establishing equitable Human Resources practices
  • Mandatory Education
  • Continuing to advance supplier diversity program

An executive leader is assigned to each priority action with multi-disciplinary workgroups convening monthly to track and report progress.

Trinity Health recognizes that ending systemic racism and achieving health equity requires change to institutional ways of doing things including within the halls of Congress.  As such, the organization has an advocacy agenda that calls on Congress to address the inequities of COVID19, advance comprehensive health care for all, address other social influencers of health including food and housing access, and improve maternal health outcomes.

Moreover, their community health and well-being efforts focus on optimizing health for those who are poor and vulnerable, and are committed to ensuring investments are strategically supporting majority-minority communities that have experienced historical disinvestment. Trinity Health is also committed to advancing social care services through affordable access to food, housing and healthcare.

As a faith-based Ministry, the Core Values of reverence, commitment to those who are poor, safety, justice, stewardship, and integrity guide the work to improve the health of all communities and dismantle barriers to health inequity. Trinity Health will continue to lead efforts to end systemic racism and create a culture of inclusion where colleagues and patients can be their authentic selves without fear of judgement, prejudice, or inequitable treatment.


0 comment

You may also like