Chair Files

Drive Toward Diversity

Building a culture that is inclusive and founded on principles of diversity was a “key destination point” defined several years ago by the board of CHRISTUS Health. The health care system, based in Irving, Texas, focuses on three key areas to validate that it is providing “high-quality, compassionate care to everyone.” First, the health system not only ensures the accurate collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data but also incentivizes leaders and admitting staff to do so, according to Stephen Wright, president and CEO of CHRISTUS Health Louisiana. Hospital teams should ask: Am I collecting the right data to really understand our population? Second, all CHRISTUS team members receive training and continued coaching in delivering culturally competent, age-specific care. Desmond Bell Perry, RN at CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier, explains that training helps staff understand that patients of various cultures have “different actions, beliefs and ways to show emotions.” Third, the health care system works to ensure that leaders and board members reflect the diversity in communities they serve. Gene Woods, the system’s president and COO, says leadership diversity at CHRISTUS has now increased from 13 to 23 percent and system-level board diversity has since increased to 30 percent. The current chair of the AHA’s Equity of Care committee, Woods advises to “keep strategies and plans real” by listening to underrepresented voices in the community.

A video featuring Woods, Wright and Perry discussing health care equity initiatives at CHRISTUS Health is available on the Equity of Care website, along with other videos and resources on eliminating health care disparities. For more information about CHRISTUS Health, contact Abby Lowe McNeil, system director, communications and public affairs, at has additional case studies and information on health care equity, including the recent HPOE guide “A Framework for Stratifying Race, Ethnicity and Language Data.”


Additional Resources

Webinars December 13th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 2: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 20th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 1: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 17th, 2017

Transportation and the Role of Hospitals This AHA webinar on “Transportation and the Role of Hos......