Four leaders at Kindred Healthcare – James Poullard, Senior Vice President for Support Services, Health Equity and Experience; Loren Perona, Vice President for Clinical Operations, Hospital Division; Lori Cole, Division Vice President, Quality, Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services; and Melissa Marksbury Roe, Director, Patient Experience – have been selected to participate in a year-long executive leadership program designed to address racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. These Kindred professionals are four of only 48 individuals from 21 healthcare organizations from around the United States to be selected for the Disparities Leadership Program 2021-2022. They will join a cohort of 203 other organizations who have or are currently participating in the Disparities Leadership Program (DLP) from 2007-present.
The Disparities Leadership Program, the first program of its kind in the nation, is designed 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 is led by the Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, Massachusetts.
Through the DLP, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- To create a professional learning and networking environment for leaders in healthcare to engage in peer-to-peer learning, crowd sourcing of ideas and strategies for reducing disparities, resource sharing, collaboration, and ongoing support in the form of a national DLP alumni network.
“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, MBA, MSPH, Director of the Disparities Solutions Center at MGH. “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,” Ms. Tan-McGrory said.
“We are excited that four Kindred leaders have been chosen to participate in the Disparities Leadership Program to help advance our company’s efforts to promote health equity in the care we provide,” said Jason Zachariah, President and Chief Operating Officer of Kindred Healthcare. “As a healthcare provider, it is critical to our mission that we ensure all of our patients receive the same compassionate, quality care in our daily endeavor to deliver hope, healing and recovery. We’ve made that pledge in each of our Kindred hospitals, and under the leadership of these team members, we aspire to be an even more exemplary provider of equitable and outstanding care.”
Since its inception in 2005 as the nation’s first hospital-based disparities center, the Disparities Solutions Center at MGH has been recognized as a national leader in addressing racial and ethnic disparities in care. In addition to fostering a movement among leaders from 203 organizations nationally and internationally through the DLP, the DSC has worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Office of Minority Health to design, implement, and evaluate a portfolio of quality improvement programs to reduce health disparities. In addition, the DSC has partnered with hospital leaders in quality and safety at MGH for over a decade to produce the publicly available Annual Report on Equity in Health Care Quality, which stratifies hospital data by race, ethnicity, language, and other factors to monitor for disparities, identify areas for quality improvement, and report on the progress of initiatives to eliminate disparities. DSC faculty have also played an important role in the well-recognized effort among Boston hospitals to eliminate disparities under the leadership of Boston Public Health Commission. These experiences have uniquely positioned DSC faculty to provide training to those interested in addressing disparities through quality improvement.
The Disparities Leadership Program is jointly sponsored by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and supported by Joint Commission Resources (JCR), an affiliate of the Joint Commission.