Care New England Hosts Transformative Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit to Help Shape the Future of Healthcare Equity

(Providence, RI) – As part of its mission to build a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system, Care New England Health System (CNE) recently hosted its fourth annual immersive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Summit. 

This year’s keynote speakers were Dr. David R. Williams, who is the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard University, and Thea L. James, MD, MBA, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center (BMC)/Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, President of the Boston Medical Dental Staff, Vice President of Mission and Associate Chief Medical Officer. 

Dr. Williams is an internationally recognized social scientist focused on social influences on health. He has been invited to keynote scientific conferences in Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, South America, and across the United States. His research has enhanced understanding of the complex ways in which socioeconomic status, race, stress, racism, health behavior, and religious involvement can affect health. He is the author of more than 475 scientific papers, and he has served on the editorial board of 12 scientific journals and as a reviewer for over 75 others. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is the most widely used measure of discrimination in health studies.

Dr. James is a founding member of the National Network of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Advocacy Programs (NNHVIP). In 2011 she was appointed to Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. As Vice President of Mission, Dr. James works with caregivers throughout BMC. Additionally, she has primary responsibility for coordinating and maximizing BMC’s relationships and strategic alliances with a wide range of local, state, and national multi-sector organizations including community agencies, housing advocates, and others that partner with BMC. The goal is to foster innovative and effective new models of care that are essential for patients and communities to thrive and reach their full potential. This includes a focus on the intersections of health and wealth, economic mobility, and other upstream drivers of predictable poor health outcomes. These care models are critical to operationalizing equity in the broadest sense.

Summit attendees were introduced and educated on the latest strategies, research, and best practices for advancing equity in healthcare. The Summit was largely virtual with in-person engagement and included engaging presentations and lively panel discussions that advance CNE’s collective knowledge on healthcare equity, social drivers of health, serving LGBTQ+ populations, trauma-informed care, and more. 

“This year, we focused on making sure that each session was an opportunity to advance our collective understanding of health equity. It isn’t enough to identify barriers. We have to be solution-orientated with the community at the core. To do that properly, you have to invite folks into the conversation and be willing to listen. I am so grateful to the many community organizations who contributed to these critical conversations. It is a small step towards a more equitable and inclusive Care New England,” said Kevin K. Martins, Ed.D., MBA, Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer.

Other organizations included the Southside Community Land Trust, Economic Progress Institute, East Bay Community Action Program, Refugee Dream Center, House of Hope, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center, Boston Public Health Commission, Open Door Health, Youth Pride, Inc., The Miriam Hospital, South Providence HEZ, Pawtucket/Central Falls HEZ, Warwick HEZ, the Rhode Island Department of Health and Harvard University. 

Care New England also provided attendees opportunities to share information about initiatives within CNE that seek to advance equity and offer hands-on workshops and networking.

About Care New England
Care New England Health System is a trusted organization that fuels the latest advances in medical research, attracts the nation’s top specialty-trained doctors, hones renowned services and innovative programs, and engages in the important discussions people need to have about their health and end-of-life wishes. Care New England is helping to transform the future of health care, providing a leading voice in the ongoing effort to ensure the health of the individuals and communities we serve.

CNE was founded in 1996, and today it is the parent organization of Butler Hospital, Kent Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Care New England Medical Group, the VNA of Care New England, The Providence Center, and Integra, a certified accountable care organization (ACO). Care New England includes 970 licensed beds and 216 infant bassinets. Through Butler, Kent, and Women & Infants hospitals, Care New England has a teaching and research affiliation with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kent is also a teaching affiliate of The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.