Signals of progress, Signs of HOPE

The work of racial justice will be a marathon, not a sprint. There will be milestones along our journey to becoming an anti-racist institution. In the short-term (Fall 2020), the HOPE Commission coordinated a systemwide engagement process to develop recommendations for action in 2021. As a result of work plan implementation and continuous learning, we will develop greater capacity as individuals and an organization to deepen our work in 2022 and beyond. Whenever possible, we’ll make change quickly. At the same time, some changes will take more time, and we are committed to long-term transformation. At this early stage, thanks in part to recent suggestions from employees, successes include:

Spring/Summer 2021 Signals of progress, Signs of HOPE

Virtual Candlelight Vigil to Honor the Life of George Floyd
May 25th marked the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s tragic death. M Health Fairview’s Spiritual Health Services led a virtual candlelight vigil followed by a collective healing conversation in partnership with the office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), Fairview Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and Community Advancement. The virtual candlelight vigil included a period of silence (9 minutes and 29 seconds), where we invited team members to spend time reflecting, grieving, breathing and, healing. Dr. Arnoldo Curiel, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (UMP), led a dialogue that focused on honoring the memory of George Floyd while at the same time engaging in conversation and reflection about our call to action to support racial equity individually and within our health system by addressing the systemic inequities that create barriers for patients and team members.

COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Command Center
Early data showed BIPOC and other groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 were at greater risk of not getting the vaccine as quickly due to access barriers. Our system created plan to address the disparity, including community partnerships, broad vaccination initiatives, and focus on M Health Fairview community clinics serving diverse populations. As of late April, M Health Fairview had administered more than 8,000 doses at 40 events through MHF Community Advancement’s Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative. 70% of those vaccinated at MINI events identified at Black, Indigenous, or other people of color.

Throughout the pandemic, our system has worked with Governor Walz and the state of Minnesota to address health equity issues disproportionately affecting BIPOC communities.

HOPE Commission Recommendations in Action
Advancing our ambitious anti-racism and inclusion endeavors requires deliberate effort, resources and workplans to drive us forward. Following the delivery of the HOPE Commission report in February, James Hereford and Dean Jakub Tolar, MD, asked accountable leaders from across the M Health Fairview partnership to review the HOPE Commission recommendations and work with the appropriate departments to develop 2021 targets and work plans. You can now read the 2021 plan as we continue our journey towards becoming an anti-racist and multicultural organization. The work plan, developed in collaboration with leaders across the Joint Clinical Enterprise, encompasses our role as employers, healthcare providers, corporate citizens, and in academia.

Stopping the use of eGFR
In March, our system announced it would no longer use the eGFR adjustment for kidney health. This came after a taskforce of our researchers and physicians found this race-based adjustment problematic. They shared their findings with the world in an essay called “Reckoning with History”. The race-adjusted eGFR rests on incorrect assumptions about race, which is a social construct, not a biological difference. This is just one of many examples of systemic racism in healthcare. But if we continue to pick the cloth apart, piece by piece, and share what we find and how we rectify it with others in our community, we can begin to create a brilliant tapestry that has room for all of us.