Reflections on Racial Responsibility in Systems Improvement Work

May 3, 2019

Feature Image: Brian Stauffer, O Magazine

We know that race and racism play a serious role in the systemic and structural inequities that plague our communities. But how do systems of oppression show up in our quality improvement (QI) programs in healthcare settings? And what can we do about it?

In their ‘Insight’ post for The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality, Avery Desrosiers and Stacy Scott explore how racism can impact the success of a QI program. And they offer six critical questions that teams engaged in health improvement initiatives can raise to help ensure equity is at the center of all change efforts:

  1. Have you named the root causes of the inequity at play? If you cannot name it, you cannot measure it, target it or dismantle it.
  2. What would be different if you centered on the experiences of people of color instead of conducting business as usual?
  3. What would it look like if power in decision making, planning, implementation and evaluation was distributed equitably?
  4. Are you collecting data that is stratified by race and ethnicity as you implement your policy or practice?
  5. How will you assess whether any groups are unintentionally impacted in a negative way by the policy or practice?
  6. What are some key ways that the policy or practice will be sustained, and continued by the members of the community?


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