Mee Memorial Hospital in King City (Contributed)

KING CITY — Mee Memorial Healthcare System in King City is among six organizations from around the United States and Canada that have been selected to participate in a year-long executive leadership program designed to address racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare.

Launched in 2007, the Disparities Leadership Program — the first of its kind in the nation — is created for leaders from hospitals, health insurance plans and other healthcare organizations who are seeking to develop practical strategies to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare.

The program, now in its 15th year, is led by the Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass.

“We are thrilled that four MMHS leaders have been selected to participate in the Disparities Leadership Program to help advance our organization’s efforts to promote health equity in the care we provide,” said Rena Salamacha, CEO of Mee Memorial Healthcare System. “As a healthcare provider, we have an opportunity to rethink how we offer healthcare to our patients, and build a better healthcare system that is more equitable and just for all.”

Through the Disparities Leadership Program, the DSC aims to create leaders prepared to meet the challenges of healthcare transformation by improving quality for populations who experience disparities. 

The program has three main goals: 1) To equip healthcare leaders with a rich understanding of the causes of disparities, the vision to implement solutions and the strategies to transform their organization to deliver high-value healthcare; 2) To help leaders create strategic plans or projects to advance their work in reducing disparities in a customized way, with practical benefits tailored to every organization; and 3) To create a professional learning and networking environment for leaders in healthcare to engage in peer-to-peer learning, crowdsourcing of ideas and strategies for reducing disparities, resource sharing, collaboration and ongoing support in the form of a national alumni network.

In addition to Mee Memorial, this year’s participants include: Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y.; Health Net in Woodland Hills, Calif.; Western Sky Community Care in Albuquerque, N.M.; GuideWell in Jacksonville, Fla.; and Florida Blue Foundation in Jacksonville, Fla.

“What we have learned from working with other healthcare organizations for over a decade is that there is a thirst for knowledge on how to operationalize and execute on strategies to address racial and ethnic disparities, but also to be part of a community that can crowd source ideas,” said Aswita Tan-McGrory, director of the DSC. “Especially in this current national climate of a call to action for social justice, participating organizations create a powerful network of leaders coming together to support and learn from each other toward the common goal of eliminating disparities.”

Since its inception in 2005 as the nation’s first hospital-based disparities center, the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital has been recognized as a national leader in addressing racial and ethnic disparities in care. 

In addition to fostering a movement among leaders from 226 organizations nationally and internationally through the Disparities Leadership Program, the DSC has worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Office of Minority Health to design, implement and evaluate a portfolio of quality improvement programs to reduce health disparities.

The Disparities Leadership Program is jointly sponsored by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and supported by Joint Commission Resources, an affiliate of the Joint Commission.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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