Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
As part of their Healthy People 2030 initiative, aimed at eliminating disparities and improving the health and well-being of all, the United States Government has deemed health literacy a “central focus.”
Healthy People 2030 defines personal health literacy as, “the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.” Similarly, they define organizational health literacy as, “the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.”
In order to promote health literacy, in December of 2020 we were leaders in creating a way of communicating important information about COVID-19 and vaccine information to groups who are historically marginalized. Our team was the first to be in this space and created a welcoming environment for all questions to be asked.
Two of the keys to reducing health disparities and building health literacy are community outreach and education. To reduce health disparities and build health literacy is targeted interventions, community outreach and education. We are committed to providing a relaxed and welcoming environment to ask questions, and had medical experts that provided solid, relevant and timely information so that people could make informed healthcare decisions.
Our Community Conversations were hosted in partnership with a wide range of leaders in the community. RRH has partnered with various communities such as the Latinx community, rural migrant farmers, faith communities, deaf and hard of hearing, LGBTQ+, Veterans, people living with disabilities, elders and their caregivers, adolescents and parents. With these partnerships we were able to form strong community bonds. With the information widely available now, we have decided to pivot the focus of our Community Conversations to health and wellness. Our hopes for our Community Conversations moving forward is to ensure that health screenings are put on the forefront as preventative measures.
Social determinants of health (SDOH), as defined by Health People 2030, are “the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”
Examples of social determinants of health include:
Social determinants of health contribute to inequities and health disparities. For example, people who do not have access to reliable transportation struggle with being consistently on time and finding quality job opportunities. Job opportunities might immediately be out of your scope if they require multiple bus fares and transfers, or if you are expected to pay for your own parking.
Social determinants of health play a massive role in determining life expectancy and quality of life. That is why we are working towards improving these social determinants for the communities we serve.
As we prepare for our communities to reopen, we will be shifting our community conversations to health and wellness. Health inequities predates COVID-19, but the pandemic shed light on the work still needed to understand and combat health disparities and social determinants of health.
Rochester Regional Health's We Ask Because We Care campaign is an initiative to help our patients received the highest level of care. We are working to ensure all populations feel welcome when coming into our system, and believe that they are getting the best care possible. Health equality for all is our true north. This is a system wide effort to connect, educate and empower patients and employees to engage in order to produce the best patient outcomes.
Hear more about our campaign in our video.