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On this episode, I talk with Marcos Pesquera, system vice president for community health and chief diversity officer at CHRISTUS Health, headquartered in Irving, Texas. Marcos and I discuss how hospitals and health systems can integrate and align diversity and inclusion strategies to achieve health equity, including building community partnerships that improve the health of all individuals and communities.

Marcos describes key actions to improve diversity, equity and inclusion, including hardwiring DEI in the mission and strategic goals of the health care organization. He shares a model used at CHRISTUS to ensure DEI is well integrated — internally, interpersonally, institutionally and systemically.

Representation matters — that is, ensuring the community is represented on the front-line team to executive team and all employees in between — emphasizes Marcos. CHRISTUS Health also has a DEI Council with a good mix of employees and executive sponsors and the power to make decisions.

In successfully building the business case for this work, Marcos suggests that hospital and health system leaders and teams consider: “Is there real health care quality without equity? How do we preserve the dignity of every human being who comes through our doors?”

I hope you find these conversations interesting and insightful. Look for them once a month as part of the Chair File.

Watch the episode here.

The AHA Accelerating Health Equity Conference is May 16–18 in Minneapolis. Learn more.

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