Jessica Brooks, MPM, president and chief executive officer, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, spoke on the core themes of her keynote address related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the 2022 Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health annual conference.
The responsibility and role of employers in addressing health equity concerns related to quality, cost, and access were part of the core themes discussed during the keynote address at the 2022 Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH) annual conference, said Jessica Brooks, MPM, president and chief executive officer, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health.
Can you discuss the core themes of your keynote address on health equity at the 2022 GPBCH annual conference?
Yeah, so I was asked to come speak on health equity, and the title was, “Health Equity Is An Action,” and how do we get employers truly engaged in the work of health equity given the traditional nature of looking at health care from a value lens with quality, cost, and access, but not really calling out the health equity component of that.
So, I spoke around where quality is going and the impact that that has based on race. Safety is one layer, but you have to look at how each of us are experiencing the health care system differently and the outcomes from that. I spoke a lot about employers stepping up in the last 2 years, especially at the senior leadership level.
Calling out discrimination and racism is a core responsibility for the business community, and looking at that from a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens. However, identifying there's a disconnect from that commitment and health equity, and the role that employers are playing in health equity as a part of the DEI agenda and commitment, and asking health care benefits leaders to do their part to get up to speed and identify their role so that they can actually influence that DEI strategy at the corporate level.
I also spoke a lot about maternal equity, calling out the maternal health crisis that we have in our country and in Pennsylvania, and highlighted some of the disparities with Black mothers dying postpartum or within childbirth, and that 92% of those deaths in Pennsylvania are preventable and that there's an opportunity for us to step up as a business community given that we cover 50% of births collectively in the country.
And just really shared some strategies, high level, and highlighted some rockstar employers that are actually taking steps in short order, but having a high level of impact while they're doing it, and iterating and asking everyone to identify their role and responsibility in this pathway forward.