Luminis Health has released a bold plan to become a national model for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI).
The groundwork for the plan began in 2020 with the formation of the health system’s Health Equity and Anti-Racism Task (HEART) Force, a multidisciplinary group consisting of members of the boards of trustees, senior leaders, medical staff, community partners and stakeholders. The events of the year 2020 prompted Luminis Health to assess data and information to identify greater opportunity to affect change in confronting racism, addressing the effects of systemic inequity, and dismantling structural injustice.
“The future of health equity calls for organizations like ours to take bold action to dismantle structural and social drivers of racial and ethnic disparities in all of its forms. Luminis Health is committed to exactly that,” said Victoria Bayless, CEO of Luminis Health. “These recommendations will be intentionally woven into who we are as a system and a part of what we do every day to better serve our workforce, and enhance the health of our patients and communities.”
The recommendations are structured by three major categories:
- Lead as an anti-racist organization, and confront racism and eradicate inequities in health care.
- Enhance culturally informed communications and community collaboration.
- Measure and integrate accountability.
The recommendations outline ten strategic approaches to begin tackling these challenges:
- Confront racism and embody principles of an antiracist organization in policy, culture and performance.
- Eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes of diverse communities.
- Become a trusted partner in diverse communities through a formalized community network.
- Become a diversity, equity and inclusion thought leader in Maryland and in health care nationally by hiring and retaining a diverse workforce.
- Establish culturally customized care as the formal standard of quality.
- Share the Luminis Health JEDI journey with diverse populations by incorporating into the Luminis Health brand.
- Extend current diversity, equity and inclusion reporting and programs effectively across the system.
- Establish minority business enterprise/supplier diversity goals and partner with local minority businesses, vendors and suppliers.
- Develop a sustainable accountability model.
- Integrate specific JEDI focus into the board governance structure.
Put forth by Luminis Health’s HEART Force, co-chaired by Dr. Randy Rowel, associate professor and director of the Why Culture Matters Disaster Studies Project at Morgan State University, and Alicia Wilson, social justice advocate, the recommendations were unanimously approved by the boards of trustees and adopted by the health system in June.
“The time is now for swift and progressive action to confront racism and eradicate inequities in health care and beyond,” said Tamiko Stanley, vice president and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Luminis Health. “At Luminis Health, we are committed to comprehensively evaluating our processes, policies, and practices to move toward meaningful change within our organization and in the communities we serve. Driven by accountability and transparency, our plan will light Luminis Health’s path to the next level of excellence in our diversity, equity, inclusion and justice journey.”
“Racism undoubtedly contributes to health inequity. These pervasive and systemic issues require multiple, simultaneous and ongoing actions to eliminate them,” said Reverend Stephen Tillett, of Asbury Broadneck Methodist Church and HEART Force member. “By adopting these 10 bold recommendations, Luminis Health can put into motion a new and lasting plan to guide the changes that we must undertake to foster a space for equity to prevail.”
Adopting the recommendations represents a step forward in Luminis Health’s ongoing diversity and inclusion journey. This year, Luminis Health’s LGBTQIA and African-American Business Resource Groups earned the DiversityFirst Top 50 Employee Resource Group Award by the National Diversity Council for commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and communities. In 2020, the health system received the American Organization for Nursing Leadership’s Prism Award for advancing diversity efforts within the nursing profession, community and organization. Luminis Health is also recognized as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” after earning a perfect score of 100 on the most recent Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).
In 2019, the health system was bestowed one of the highest honors in health equity with the American Hospital Association’s Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award for outstanding efforts to advance equity of care to all patients, and to spread lessons learned and progress toward achieving health equity. Luminis Health was also the first health care organization in the nation to host a local chapter of Coming to the Table, an employee circle group designed to promote open, candid conversations about race, cultural differences and discussion around ways to understand and mitigate unconscious bias.
“We recognize racism and other injustices are harmful and complex problems, but we intend to address them directly, intentionally, and relentlessly through our daily work and our Vision 2030,” continued Bayless.