Office of Health Equity and Inclusion

The Office of Health Equity and Inclusion works with departments and divisions throughout Boston Children’s Hospital to support health equity and promote culturally effective care. We recognize that health disparities pose a serious health threat to children from marginalized populations. For these reasons, closing gaps in health and health outcomes and ensuring an inclusive environment that does not tolerate any form of racism, discrimination, or bias is central to our work.

“In these extraordinary times, it is more important than ever that we strengthen and extend our commitment to ensuring that Boston Children’s Hospital is a place where all people feel welcome, cared for, and respected.”

Health equity at Boston Children

History

Founded in 2017, the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion grew out of efforts to coordinate diversity and inclusion initiatives across the hospital, making Boston Children’s a leader in health equity and inclusivity for all — our patients, our families, and our staff.

In 2020, Boston Children’s appointed Dr. Valerie Ward as its first Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. Establishing this role is one of the first steps in assembling a dedicated team of top leaders to guide, plan, and implement work across all of the areas and goals outlined in our Declaration on Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity. Dr. Ward previously served as the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion’s medical director from 2017 to 2020 and co-chair of the Diversity and Cultural Competency Council from 2006 to 2019 (renamed the EDI Council in 2020).

Promoting health equity, diversity, and inclusion

We work collaboratively with divisions and departments at Boston Children’s and Harvard Medical School, including the Office of Faculty Development, the Boston Children's Academy for Teaching and Educational Innovation and Scholarship, Health Affairs, the Office of Graduate Medical Education, the Office of Experience, and Human Resources around the following objectives:

  • to advance culturally effective pediatric care through education and scholarship
  • to perform research to improve pediatric health outcomes and reduce pediatric healthcare disparities
  • to recruit, develop, and advance a diverse and inclusive workforce
  • to support an environment of respect for different viewpoints

Our current initiatives include:

  • professional development seminars and trainings
  • career advancement and pipeline programs
  • mentoring for faculty and trainees
  • collaborative grant funding and research into health disparities
  • development of health equity quality metrics to assess health outcomes.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council is made up of more than 80 people from departments and divisions across Boston Children’s. The council advocates for a healthy, diverse, and inclusive environment by engaging, advising, and educating our entire hospital community.

The council’s working groups meet monthly to carry out the goals of Boston Children’s Declaration on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity.

Publications

March 19, 2021: Equity Metrics Should Be an Essential Component of Hospital Rankings

Office of Health Equity and Inclusion: 2019-2020 annual report