Joint Vice President of Patient Experience, Communications & Strategy
William Osler Health System
Headquarters: Brampton/Etobicoke – Ontario, Canada
CEO: Matthew Anderson
CANADIAN HEALTH SYSTEM REDUCING HEALTH INEQUITIES WITH D&I
Canadian healthcare leader William Osler Health System is transforming its diversity program with a resolute focus on reducing health inequities. To better understand and anticipate the needs of its patients and families, as well as its staff, physicians and volunteers, Osler is taking a sophisticated, evidence-based approach to health equity and inclusion.
“For us, taking a leadership role in health equity and inclusion means understanding, respecting and caring for all people across our region, and providing equitable access to quality health care that improves the patient experience,” said Osler’s Joint Vice President of Patient Experience, Communications & Strategy, Susan deRyk.
“It also means moving beyond diversity to create an environment in which equity and inclusiveness are woven into the fabric of our culture, as well as our clinical and administrative practices,” she adds. “We are transforming the organization by fostering an equitable, inclusive, welcoming and accessible environment for our patients and their families, and our staff, physicians and volunteers.”
In August 2014, deRyk was appointed Joint Vice-President, Patient Experience, Communications and Strategy and her portfolio expanded to include a regional Patient Experience program and “Equity Services” portfolio across Osler, and with the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Headwaters Health Care Centre (in Orangeville, Ontario) as part of an innovative integration of non-clinical services across the three organizations.
“We are pursuing changes to transform a stand-alone diversity program into one that is regional, and focuses on reducing health inequities based on the social determinants of health and regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, disability, and socio-economic background,” deRyk said.
ESTABLISHING PARTNERSHIPS IN INDIA
deRyk identifies one of the highlights of her career as leading an initiative that sent an Osler clinical team to Punjab, India, last year. The exploratory mission has enabled Osler to learn more about health care in that region – where a lot of its patients originally come from – and identify opportunities to partner with organizations there through research and education initiatives to enhance the delivery of health care services.
Planning for a second exploratory mission is currently underway and organized for later this year.
“Understanding how health care is delivered in Punjab helps us establish partnerships with local health care providers to create innovative programs, such as screening for common illnesses or assisting with maternal health challenges. This has a direct impact on patient care in the areas where it’s needed most,” she said.
With her all-encompassing role for better understanding and anticipating patient needs and the impact diversity has on health outcomes, deRyk said that Osler is taking a sophisticated, evidence-based approach to health equity and inclusion.
Leveraging a diversity lens, Osler’s Health Equity & Inclusion Team is launching evidence-based health equity research based on patient data and demographics. “Our goal is to identify strengths and opportunities to help the organizations better serve vulnerable and diverse populations, while they are in hospital and after discharge when they are receiving care in their homes or in the community,” deRyk said.
“The findings of our current research and future planned studies may yield conclusions that improve our organizations’ ability to anticipate needs, establish priorities, and allocate resources to provide the best possible patient experience for vulnerable populations,” she said.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OSLER HEALTH SYSTEM RECENT D&I RECOGNITION INCLUDE:
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – Diversity Leader Award
- Greater Toronto’s Top 100 Employers
- Greater Toronto’s Great Places to Work
- Canada’s Best Diversity Employers Award
- OHA Quality Healthcare Award