Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why does equity matter? M Health Fairview’s mission is to improve the health of those we serve. Persistent disparities in health outcomes make it abundantly clear that we and other Minnesota health care providers are failing people of color. That’s unacceptable to us. We must do much better, and the HOPE Commission aims to bring together our collective will and resources for doing better.

Q. What does it mean when you say that the HOPE Commission is “anti-racist?” Ibram X. Kendi, a historian and author of “How to be an Anti-Racist,” says that the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it, and then dismantle it. He calls this being “anti-racist.” Racism, both through action and inaction, limits M Health Fairview’s effectiveness in caring for many of the people we exist to serve. The HOPE Commission’s role is to ensure that M Health Fairview is being more consistently and actively “anti-racist.”

Q. How does the HOPE Commission fit with other things M Health Fairview is doing on this issue? There are many people and groups at M Health Fairview who have been doing amazing anti-racism work for many years. The HOPE Commission won’t duplicate, slow, or replace that excellent work. It will support and build on those preexisting initiatives in effort to reinforce and provide greater momentum to this movement. With a scope of work specific to advising our executive champions as well as engaging the organization in co-developing a 2021 workplan, the HOPE Commission can ensure existing and emerging efforts will be aligned toward our system vision for transformation.

Q. Why all this listening? In the past, we should have listened much more to impacted audiences. While we recognize that we can learn from what has already been published in research journals, calls for action by impacted community members, and concerns that have been escalated through our existing employee and patient engagement processes, we also know there is an urgent need to hear in this present moment about what we need to do as an organization. So, we’re starting with outreach to impacted employees, patients, and communities, and listening to their insights and suggestions. By positioning those most impacted to define the problem and propose the solution, this listening process ultimately will lead to more effective and comprehensive reforms. We envision this as a collaborative process that incorporates the HOPE Commission’s six-point strategy to address some of the foundational institutional challenges that could undermine efforts for transformational, sustainable change and that we listen to and engage thousands of organizational stakeholders to identify key actions to advance in 2021.

Q. Why can’t this HOPE Commission move faster? We feel the urgency for the organization to act quickly, too. We have already begun to address simple items as well as stand up infrastructure on more significant initiatives, and we will continue to act and communicate those actions whenever we see opportunities for improvement arise. At the same time, because this work is so important, we must take the time to do this right. Instead of a rushed top-down approach, we will take the time to listen carefully, build trust with impacted stakeholders, and construct pathways to take decisive action toward a co-created vision. That can’t happen overnight.

Q. Will sufficient resources be available to make this undertaking meaningful? Fairview CEO James Hereford and University of Minnesota Medical School Dean Jakub Tolar MD, PhD are committed to doing what it takes to drive more equitable outcomes and experiences for our patients, employees, and communities. If doing so requires additional resourcing and/or a reallocation of resources, we will do so in order to meet our mission as a nonprofit healthcare provider and land-grant university.

Q. Will this be just another trendy “flavor of the month” project that will end as soon as the pandemic and George Floyd news coverage ends? We’re in this for the long-run. And we intend to build this into the way we do our work. We aim to produce top-decile quality and patient experience outcomes and there is no way to quality without health equity. The HOPE Commission will help hold M Health Fairview accountable to advancing equity in our key roles as an employer, healthcare provider, academic institution, and corporate citizen. This is right for our business, and it’s right for our employees, patients, and communities.

Q. How are you going to know whether the HOPE Commission efforts are succeeding? Our goal is to drive more equitable outcomes and inclusive environments and experiences for our patients, employees, and communities by using an anti-racist approach. There is a significant evaluation element of the HOPE Commission that is currently being developed that will include evaluating our progress in terms of outputs, outcomes, and impact to ensure we are achieving the transformative results we seek. Every step of the way, we’re committed to measuring our results, sharing transparently, and adjusting accordingly in effort to deliver on M Health Fairview’s mission.