In October 2020, The Vice Dean for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Dr. Eve Higginbotham, along with Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Dwaine Duckett announced the inception of the Champion in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Award: An Award of Excellence and requested nominations for the inaugural recipient. The award is open to business units, departments, divisions, institutional groups and organizations throughout Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, HUP Women’s Health Nursing and HUP Neonatology
This year’s recipient of the Champion in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Award: An Award of Excellence is the Penn Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, HUP Women’s Health Nursing and HUP Neonatology. The award was announced at the virtual Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Equity Symposium on January 16th, 2023
In October 2020, The Vice Dean for the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, Dr. Eve Higginbotham, along with Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Dwaine Duckett announced the inception of the Champion in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Award: An Award of Excellence, to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and commitment to IDE initiatives being implemented by business units, departments, divisions, institutional groups and organizations across Penn Medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) launched a Health Equity Working Group in January 2019. A first of its kind amongst CPUP departments, the multi-disciplinary committee’s goal was to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing inequities and disparities within the Ob/Gyn department at Penn.
An early accomplishment that involved collaboration with Ob/Gyn and neonatology was the creation of a Urine Drug Screen policy at HUP with guidelines mandating consent, significantly reducing biases in testing.
Furthermore, they integrated a Disparity Index assessment into the Ob/Gyn department quality forum to allow for the regular review and identification of disparities in adverse outcomes, to guide equity initiatives. This prompted initiation of a GYN QI project to evaluate disparities in route of Hysterectomy. The equity working group, now encompassing four pillars – education, quality improvement, departmental policy, and community engagement - was later renamed DISPEL (Dismantling Inequities, Systemic Problems, Elevate Lives). Additional efforts of DISPEL involved partnering with the Penn Center for Health Equity Advancement (CHEA) to develop job-specific training videos to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ patients.
To promote diversity, DISPEL and the department of OB/GYN established a summer research pipeline program for URM undergraduate students.
The Inpatient Health Equity OB/GYN subgroup was established in 12/2020 by two nurse champions of equity who were also members of DISPEL and worked on inpatient units (labor and delivery, Silverstein 7, Silverstein 8, neonatology).
The HUP Neonatal Health Equity Taskforce was created in 2020 with the goal to understand the root causes of breastfeeding inequities in our community. The taskforce was also recognized by the Healthcare Improvement Foundation with a 2022 Delaware Valley Patient Safety & Quality Award.
Penn Neurology and IDARE
In 2020, Penn Neurology and PMC were awarded a $3.5 M grant from the State of Pennsylvania to pursue the “Aging Brain Cohort Dedicated to Diversity” (ABCD2) study (Dr. David Wolk, PI), which features a deeply collaborative partnership with African-American community stakeholders—to explore interactions between social determinants of health and biological and radiographic markers of neurodegeneration in aging Black patients. EE/IDARE was instrumental in implementing ACT’s initiative for unconscious bias training in Neurology and also conducted a survey of department members’ awareness and opinions about the role of unconscious bias in professional interactions and patient care.
The EE committee invites outstanding EDI speakers for grand rounds. The 2020-21 academic year speakers included but were not limited to Hannah Valentine, MD, former chief scientific diversity officer for the NIH. In their most recent match (the first since IDARE was created), 64% of incoming residents were women, 29% were UiM, and 7% had a physical disability.
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Anti-Racism Task Force
The DFMCH ARTF was established in May 2019 by faculty and residents, and it has expanded since its inception to include individuals from across the Department including clinical providers (APP and MD/DO), clinical staff, research faculty, research staff, and administrative staff. The ARTF has established an ambitious and broad programming agenda with specific projects in each of the areas of Employee Engagement, Education, Patient Care, Service, and Research.
Over the last three years, the ARTF developed interventions to significantly increase the amount of URiM candidates that are interviewed to become residents, working toward increasing diversity which will ultimately lead to better health outcomes and patient satisfaction. They have addressed health disparities head on through the removal of the race-based anemia guidelines, advocated for universal equitable COVID testing at PPMC, and mobilized the removal process of the race-based eGFR.
The ARTF has successfully implemented two different forums for discussions on racism, equity, and inclusion: Department Town Halls and a Family Medicine resident-led workshop on structural racism. They are collaborating on numerous education initiatives impacting undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education.
The ARTF has been active in service and community engagement as well. A sub-committee of the ARTF obtained Bach Funds to run flu vaccination drives in community locations including places of worship, domestic violence shelters and a mobile clinic for opioid use disorder. And in terms of civic engagement, the ARTF members executed voter registration efforts at the Penn Family Care clinic during this past election cycle.