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Health Equity

What is health equity?

Family walking near water

Health Equity means everyone has access to quality health care and can live a healthy life, regardless of factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, and socioeconomic status.

A helpful way to illustrate health equity is the following scenario:

Three people stand in front of a fence. The first person is tall enough to see over the fence, the second is just a little too short to see over and the third is even shorter and also unable to see over.

Equality in this situation would mean each person had the same step ladder to help them see over the fence. However, the first person is already tall enough, so a step ladder is unnecessary — and the step ladder isn’t tall enough for the shortest person to see over the fence.

Equity, on the other hand, would mean giving each person the appropriate step ladder, given their unique circumstances. The tall person receives no step ladder. The middle-height person receives a short step ladder. The shortest person receives a taller step ladder.

MultiCare’s Health Equity Strategic Plan 2015-2020

In 2015 MultiCare completed a Cultural Competency Organizational (CCO) Assessment based on the Seven Domains described by HRSA: Organizational Values, Governance, Planning/Monitoring/Evaluation, Communication, Staff Development, Organizational Infrastructure, and Services and Interventions.

We created our MultiCare Health Equity Plan(HESP) based on results from the CCO Assessment. MultiCare’s areas of improvement include:

  • Establishing a culturally proficient/sensitive and responsive workforce
  • Recruiting, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce
  • Connecting and engaging with our communities, especially communities of color, promoting inclusivity
  • Increasing promotion and access to Interpreter Services across MHS for limited English proficient (LEP), American Sign Language (ASL), and visually impaired patients.

The HESP is a driving tool to steer our health equity initiatives and programs.

Examples of Health Equity Programs and resources:

Cultural competency trainings

MultiCare employees are required to complete cultural competency training every other year and the training is a requirement of all new employees. In-person trainings are also available to staff on a year-round basis.

Qualified bilingual staff (QBS) program

MultiCare offers the QBS Program, an interpretation program created by Kaiser Permanente. This program certifies internal bilingual staff to become on-site interpreters and provides tools and techniques to provide culturally competent care.

Diversity & equity consultations

We provide consultations and presentations for MultiCare departments, staff and community partners addressing topics relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

MultiCare’s Cultural Diversity Council (CDC)

The MultiCare Cultural Diversity Council consists of collaborative MultiCare employees who serve as diversity champions and “model the way,” address diversity issues and collectively promote health equity initiatives to positively impact our organization and the communities we serve.

American Hospital Association pledge #123 for equity campaign

With support from our President and CEO, Bill Robertson, MultiCare has signed the #123 for Equity Pledge to Act Campaign. The American Hospital Association (AHA) launched the #123 for Equity Pledge to Act Campaign in July 2015, building upon the National Call to Action to Eliminate Health Care Disparities.

MultiCare has made the following pledge commitment:

  • Increase the collection, stratification and use of race, ethnicity, language preference and other sociodemographic data to improve quality and safety
  • Increase cultural competency training to ensure culturally responsive care
  • Advance diversity in leadership and governance to reflect the communities served
  • Improve and strengthen community partnership

Contact us

We are always looking for your thoughts about how to make MultiCare and our Center the best it can be.

  • Tell us about a need in your community
  • Share your ideas about diversity and health equity
  • Ask a question
  • Let us know how we can help

Email us at: [email protected]