MaineHealth is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across our system through focused development of a welcoming, respectful, equitable and inclusive environment. What is DEI?
By focusing on DEI, we are developing a culture that respects and values uniqueness — allowing care team members to bring their whole selves to work. When people can be themselves, they can be at their best. In a health care environment, that means providing the best possible patient care.
DEI helps us to see our patients differently and better understand the complexity of human interactions. From different cultural influences, communication styles, and language differences, to health disparities related to diversity — whether based on sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic or other backgrounds — the more we learn together and understand differences, the better we can serve our patients. This work helps improve communication, increases patient satisfaction and ultimately helps us to deliver higher-quality care.
2022 – 2026 DEI Strategic Plan
In May 2022, MaineHealth approved a five-year DEI strategic plan with goals in three key areas:
A diverse and engaged care team leads to better outcomes overall. With commitment from our leadership, MaineHealth will nurture an inclusive, transparent and collaborative culture so that all our care team members can be authentic, and perform at their best. The organization will recruit, hire and retain care team members from historically underrepresented communities by investing in equitable talent acquisition, compensation practices, and education. As a result, MaineHealth will be a leader in the field with a highly engaged and diverse care team and leadership at all levels of the organization.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goal
Foster an inclusive culture and increase diversity throughout all levels of MaineHealth.
- Advance DEI education for leadership and all care team members.
- Finalize a policy and guidelines for responding to patient bias and discrimination and begin roll-out, including education and support tools.
- Establish a workforce diversity analytics process that monitors hiring, retention, promotions, development and terminations.
- Identify and mitigate bias in the Talent Acquisition process and embed updated processes in the HR Strategy.
- Conduct a review of compensation practices utilizing an external expert, and based on results develop a communication plan and work plan.
- Leveraging benchmarks for disability best practice, establish a multi-year plan to improve the experiences of care team members experiencing disability.
- Conduct a Workforce Diversity Assessment to assess MaineHealth’s progress toward a diverse and inclusive workplace for all care team members.
Providing patient-centered care—the first of our six values—means delivering care that is equitable and flexible; giving patients the care they need when they need it. We acknowledge that there are systemic barriers that prevent some people from achieving their full health potential and contribute to inequities in care access and health outcomes. MaineHealth will build upon our health improvement work and commit to building system-wide infrastructure that begins to address these barriers, including equitable access to language and translation services, leveraging data to understand and improve health outcomes for historically underrepresented and rural communities, enhancing cross-cultural care, and implementing best-in-class LGBTQ+ patient care. Patient-centered care means high-quality, accessible care to all, so that we become a trusted and reliable resource for all communities we serve.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goal
Develop functions to support and advance equitable care for every MaineHealth patient.
2022-2026 Summarized Objectives
- Establish a system-wide, Language Access Department for equitable access to interpreters and translation of vital documents.
- Conduct a Cross-Cultural Medical Assessment and develop a baseline understanding of cross-cultural awareness and competency.
- Develop and provide cross-cultural awareness education to reduce any gaps.
- Increase patient data collection of Race, Ethnicity, Language (REL) and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity (SOGI).
- Establish health equity tracking benchmarks and stratify performance data on quality, safety and patient experience, by race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and gender identity, income, and disability status. Identify gaps and develop plans to improve performance and reduce disparity.
- Expand and integrate LGBTQ+ patient-related services across the MaineHealth system.
- Establish a system-wide spiritual care collaborative network to ensure equitable access to spiritual care providers.
MaineHealth is a place that honors diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), an engaging place to work where our communities turn to obtain excellent and equitable care. Advancing these principles requires deliberate work to lay the foundations and build upon successes to establish an organization known for its consistent commitment to DEI and continuous improvement. MaineHealth will be a leader in the field when it is a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization, both for our patients and communities we serve, and for our entire care team. This cultural journey includes MaineHealth embracing and supporting all care team members and patients in accordance with our values—regardless of race, ethnicity, cultural and religious belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other dimension of diversity—and building the infrastructure to ensure our continuous and long term success.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goal
Establish an infrastructure to ensure alignment and continuous improvement of our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
- Establish suitable administrative structures to advance health care equity:
- Establish system-level guidelines and policies related to the care of historically underrepresented populations (e.g., race & ethnicity, LGBTQ+ health, culture and language access).
- In partnership with local health system presidents, establish local DEI committees to support implementation.
- Develop and implement a work plan to assess and improve representation and accessibility of marketing/communications, website, new staff orientation and the Learning Management System.
- Establish an Advisory Board to assist in identifying, prioritizing, and further increasing community sponsorships related to the historically underrepresented communities we serve.
- Create a multi-year supply chain strategy to improve diversity of suppliers.
- Based on results of Workforce Diversity Assessment and diversity and health equity analytics, evaluate gaps against Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Benchmarks and other DEI integration tools to evaluate progress.
FY23: A Year in Review
Patients and Populations
- Health Care Equity: A Health Care Equity Steering Committee was created to monitor progress toward goals, ensure we meet regulatory and reporting requirements, and prioritize future initiatives.
- REL/SOGI Data Collection: MaineHealth met its scorecard goal: Greater than 65% of appropriate patients will be screened for food insecurity and Race, Ethnicity, and Language (REL). Planning is now underway for the collection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) data.
- System-wide Language Access / Translating Vital Documents: MaineHealth is aligning on language access requirements and procedures. All vital documents are being translated into the top 5 written languages, serving 68% of our non-English speaking patients in clinical settings.
- LGBTQ+ Health: We’re identifying opportunities to improve LGBTQ+ health throughout the system, to better support and meet the needs of this patient population. One example is that legal sex will be removed from patient wristbands.
- Talent Acquisition: Unconscious bias training has been provided to executive search committees, with inclusive recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding education for all hiring leaders. Additional interviewing and onboarding guides are now available to support the recruitment and hiring process.
- DEI Education: Additional courses and trainings are offered for all care team members on topics ranging from disability inclusion to understanding implicit bias. An inclusive leadership cohort program provides leaders both knowledge and opportunities to practice inclusive leadership skills together with a group of peers.
- Cross-Cultural Humility: Providers across the system completed a cross-cultural medical assessment to identify areas of opportunity for best practice in treatment of different communities, with new courses available to address those areas.
- Policies to Support our Care Team: A Gender Identity and Expression Policy and toolkit was created to help our leaders understand how to support all care team members, but especially those who are trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming.
A policy on Responding to Incidence of Bias or Discrimination by Patients and Visitors in the Workplace was created to help our care team understand what to do when a patient or visitor is discriminatory against a care team member.
- Care Team Member Networks: The Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Care Team Member Network (CTMN), LGBTQ+ CTMN, and Leadership Connections CTMN have all started hosting in-person and virtual events for their members. A new Veterans’ CTMN will be launching soon.