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Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Health Care Has Never Been a More Pressing Goal

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Health Care Has Never Been a More Pressing Goal

Diversity and Inclusion Education Council

Englewood Health reflects on three years of initiatives to bring about social change and meeting the needs of its diverse communities of patients and employees

April 26, 2023 — Three years since a pandemic and a sociopolitical movement altered the public’s consciousness on racial justice, organizations and companies nationwide continue to incorporate diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives into the employee and customer experience. For healthcare organizations, addressing racial disparities has never been more important or a greater focus by its leaders committed to the goals of a healthier population.

Englewood Health, located in northern New Jersey in the suburbs of New York City, has long been committed to a healthcare experience centered on the individual patient. The past three years, however, have propelled this health system to recommit its focus on reducing healthcare disparities and fostering an inclusive workplace through innovative efforts.

In 2020 Warren Geller, Englewood Health’s president and CEO, was the first healthcare leader in New Jersey to sign the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to encouraging diversity and inclusion within the workplace. In the pledge, Englewood Health leadership agreed to provide equal access to vaccines, helping to mitigate risk factors for those most vulnerable to COVID-19; enhance and expand training programs for new and current employees focused on diversity and inclusion; and continue on the path to diminishing healthcare disparities, with the support of the organization’s newly founded Diversity and Inclusion Education Council.

“We are not naïve in thinking we can change deep-seated inequities easily or quickly, but any worthwhile effort takes time and commitment,” said Geller. “Over the last three years, I can confidently attest to the efforts from our leaders and teams across Englewood Health to continually do better and serve our communities more effectively and with greater empathy.”

Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives developed at Englewood Health over the past three years include:

Formation of the Diversity and Inclusion Education Council

Founded in fall 2020, the council brings together a cross section of Englewood Health leaders, physicians, and front-line staff, representing the diversity of its workforce. The council provides guidance to the health system’s leadership on two areas of focus: reducing healthcare disparities and enhancing diversity in the workplace. It has also participated in health promotion and disease prevention efforts in the communities the health system serves, including underserved communities.

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion Among Employees

Englewood Health expanded content available on its employee education platform to include diversity and inclusion education and unconscious bias training. This training content was integrated into candidate interviews, employee performance evaluations, and compliance coursework. “We all have unconscious biases and, although we may not realize it, unconscious bias can affect how well we do our jobs,” said Eva Matos-Botex, senior director of talent acquisition and development. “Our goal is to cultivate a workplace where different points of view are welcomed and where we feel empowered to discuss tough issues in an open, productive, and respectful way.” In addition, to attract local talent in Jersey City, Englewood, and Fair Lawn, Englewood Health hosted hiring events throughout the year. The events were aimed at recruiting diverse candidates for essential roles across the organization.

Improving Access to Community-Based Care

Nestled in a suburban setting in the far northern reaches of Bergen County, Englewood Health has long been a destination hospital for the local region. Yet its leaders understand that transportation barriers and patients’ schedules have necessitated new tactics to improve access. With a strategy of growing its services across the region, Englewood Health opened several important outposts in the past three years. The Englewood Health ZT Systems Outpatient Center at Jersey City, a 73,000-square-foot facility in the heart of Journal Square, opened in 2022, offering urgent care, primary care, specialty care, breast center services, diabetes care, and advanced diagnostic imaging services. Residents of Jersey City—one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation—and the greater Hudson County now have convenient access to comprehensive, culturally sensitive healthcare services. In addition to this facility, Englewood Health over the past three years also opened urgent care centers in Cresskill, Fair Lawn, and downtown Englewood.

Opening of The Shirvan Family Live Well Center

Englewood Health will open The Shirvan Family Live Well Center in the coming months in the heart of downtown Englewood. The center will focus on promoting the health and wellness of the community through free education and hands-on experiences and will engage community members of all ages in making healthier choices to prevent health problems or in response to chronic conditions. Live Well Englewood builds on the success of a three-year Live Well pilot program designed to proactively prevent chronic disease among at-risk community populations through access, awareness and resources that promote healthy lifestyles. The center’s programs focus on nutritional, emotional, and physical well-being for all ages. It will feature a demonstration kitchen, meeting rooms, and workshop space. To date, Live Well Englewood has served thousands of families challenged by obstacles to preventive care because of social status, education, culture, or financial circumstances. The center is made possible thanks to the Sylvia and Stanley Shirvan Foundation, the Amy and Mark Shirvan Family Foundation and many other generous donors.

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Health Care Has Never Been a More Pressing Goal

Diversity and Inclusion Education Council

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