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AAMC Learning Challenge Award

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Welcome to the Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) website, and thank you for your interest in our work. The DSC is dedicated to the development and implementation of strategies that advance policy and practice to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

Specifically we are working to:

  • Create change by developing new research and translating the findings into policy and practice.
  • Find solutions that help health care leaders, organizations, and key stakeholders ensure that every patient receives high-value, high-quality health care.
  • Encourage leadership by expanding the community of health care professionals prepared to improve quality, address disparities and achieve equity.

Our goal is to move beyond research and begin to take action—by developing and disseminating models for identifying and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health care nationally, regionally, and locally. Through our work, we hope to move all healthcare stakeholders one step forward – and closer to eliminating racial/ethnic disparities in healthcare.

Composed of a multidisciplinary group of health policy experts, health services researchers and physicians, the DSC opened in July of 2005 with initial funding from Massachusetts General Hospital and Partners HealthCare System. It is housed within the MGH Institute for Health Policy and affiliated with MGH and Harvard Medical School’s Department of Medicine.

For more information on how the DSC is working to assure equitable, high quality health care for all, please browse through our website. Thank you.


Recent Updates from the DSC

The Disparities Leadership Program Request for Applications

The Disparities Solutions Center is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Disparities Leadership Program (DLP).

The Disparities Leadership Program (DLP) is our year-long, hands-on executive education program focused exclusively on helping health care leaders achieve equity in quality. The program is designed to help you translate the latest understanding of the problem of disparities into realistic solutions you can adopt within your organization.

December 12, 2014

Intent to Apply (recommended but not required)

February 13, 2015

DLP Application due

April 10, 2015

DLP applicants are notified

April 17, 2015

Acceptance Deadline

May 15, 2015

Tuition payment is due

May 19-20, 2015

Opening meeting, Seaport Hotel, Boston, MA

February, 2016

Two day meeting, Loews Hotel, Santa Monica, California (dates TBD)

Click here for more information about the DLP

Click here to download a Letter of Intent form and application

Click here to download a PDF of our program description


Save the Date!
Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Keeping Current Seminar Series
Musculoskeletal Health Disparities: The Role of Language and Psychosocial Factors in Determining Upper-Extremity Disability

Thursday, October 30, 2014
12:30 -1:30 pm
Sweet Conference Room, Gray/Bigelow Building, 4th Floor, Massachusetts General Hospital

RSVP today
*Light lunch will be served 

David Ring

David Ring, MD, PhD

Mariano Menendez

Mariano Menendez, MD

Please join us for a presentation by Mariano Menendez, MD, Research Fellow at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam, and by David Ring, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Hand and Upper Extremity Service at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Psychosocial factors including mood, mindset, and coping strategies are consistently identified as major determinants of musculoskeletal symptoms and disability. The impact of other psychosocial elements such as acculturation on disability is less well studied. Low linguistic acculturation to United States society – particularly among Hispanics who are foreign-born and who do not speak English as their primary language – has been shown to affect readmissions and visits to the Emergency Department, as well as satisfaction in numerous settings of healthcare delivery, but its effect on musculoskeletal disability remains unclear. This seminar will examine whether a patient’s primary native language is an independent predictor of upper-extremity disability and whether there are any differences in the contribution of psychological factors to disability between native Spanish-speaking and English-speaking patients. Presenters will also discuss other studies conducted by this group in the field of disparities in health literacy and access to orthopaedic care (e.g. preoperative autologous blood donations, timing of surgery and use of rehabilitation services for proximal humerus fracture).

All Keeping Current Seminar series events are free and open to the public. This event will be held in the Sweet Conference Room on Gray/Bigelow 4 at Massachusetts General Hospital, and members of local health care and research communities are encouraged to attend. Please RSVP to disparitiessolutions@partners.org to reserve your spot and visit our events page for more information.

American Hospital Association Equity of Care Award

Equity of Care Award 2

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston received the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) inaugural Equity of Care Award for its efforts to reduce health care disparities and promote diversity within the organization’s leadership and staff. The award was presented on July 21 at the Health Forum-AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego.  

The AHA Equity of Care Award was created to recognize outstanding efforts among hospitals and care systems to advance equity of care to all patients, and to spread lessons learned and progress toward achieving health equity.  In 2011, the AHA joined four national health care organizations to issue a call to action to eliminate health care disparities by focusing on increasing the collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data; increasing cultural competency training; and increasing diversity in governance and leadership.

MGH has been a leader in the health care field on efforts to increase diversity and reduce disparities in care. MGH first established a system wide Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in 2003 to focus internal attention on the challenge of disparities, improve the collection of race/ethnicity data, and implement quality improvement programs to reduce disparities. The Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) was established in 2005 in response to national and local calls to address disparities in health care. The Disparities Solution Center is an action-oriented center with a practical focus of moving the issue of disparities in health care beyond research and into the arenas of policy and practice.  It serves as a national, regional and local resource for hospitals and other key health care stakeholders.  The MGH Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities, in partnership with the DSC, has implemented programs that have improved outcomes and eliminated racial and ethnic disparities related to diabetes management, colorectal and breast cancer screening, patient experience, as well as quality and safety for patients with limited English proficiency. 

In addition, MGH has is working to embed  diversity in all aspects of its strategic plan; undertaken efforts to increase the diversity of its leadership and governance; and developed hospital-wide cultural competency standards as well as deployed a number of specific cultural competency education and training programs for physicians, nurses and front-line staff. MGH also funds and supports many initiatives to increase staff diversity including the Multicultural Affairs Office, several diversity fellowships, English for Speakers of Other Language courses, scholarship programs and various Employee Resource Groups such as the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners, the Office for Women’s Careers, the LGBT Committee and the Committee on Latino Initiatives. 

Equity of Care Award

“We are honored and humbled to receive this recognition from the AHA,” said Dr. Peter Slavin, President of Massachusetts General Hospital, “The Institute of Medicine Report Unequal Treatment demonstrated the importance of incorporating efforts focused on equity into a comprehensive quality management program.  We have made some progress in identifying and addressing health care disparities at MGH.  However, we feel like we have just scratched the surface of this important quality topic.  This award will inspire us to intensify our efforts further.”
The Equity of Care Award will be presented annually by the AHA.  Hospitals were required to complete an application describing their efforts to provide equitable care and had to participate in the Institute for Diversity in Health Management’s most recent benchmarking survey on diversity and disparities. 

Full Press Release 

Dr. Betancourt Interviewed for Hospitals and Health Networks Daily
Dr. Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, Director of the Disparities Solutions Center, was interviewed for Hospitals and Health Networks Daily at the Health Forum-AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego, where Massachusetts General Hospital was honored with the inaugural American Hospital Association’s Equity of Care Award. MGH received the AHA Equity of Care Award for the organization's leadership in the health care field and initiatives to increase diversity and reduce disparities in healthcare. Full Interview

Full Interview

Position Available: Full-Time Research Assistant
The Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) within the Mongan Institute for Health Policy of the Massachusetts General Hospital, is seeking a full time research assistant to assist with the day-to-day duties of a variety of projects. The candidate must demonstrate strong organizational, administrative, and oral and written communication skills, with a strong interest and background in public health and/or disparities. A successful candidate will possess both strong program support and analytical skills.

To view a full job description, please visit our opportunities page.
Click here to apply.

Save the Date!

The Healthcare Quality and Equity Action Forum

September 29th and 30th
Seaport Boston Hotel, Boston, MA

The June 2014 Forum was a great success with over 180 participants from across the country, so be sure not to miss the next Healthcare Quality and Equity Action Forum in 2016! The Forum serves as a dissemination and implementation conference developed and led by The Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), as well as alumni from the Disparities Leadership Program. Forum faculty consist of experts in the field, as well as those with real-world experience implementing equity strategies and solutions. The Forum targets leaders that are active in health care delivery and focus on quality improvement (including those from health plans, hospitals, and health centers across the country). It provides participants with the tools and skills to identify and address racial and ethnic disparities in health care within their organizations, with the goal of empowering them to implement these strategies and transform their organizations to focus on quality and equity.

For more information, and an overview of the 2014 Forum, visit our website
To receive updates, please be sure to sign up for our mailing list.

Now Available: 2012-2013 DSC Annual Report
The Disparities Solutions Center's 2012-2013 Annual Report is now available. The Annual Report provides an overview of the mission and goals of the DSC as well as major accomplishments and partnerships established over the course of the year.

Download the 2012-2013 Report

View reports from previous years

2013 AAMC Challenge Award
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has awarded the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital the AAMC Learning Health System Challenge award for its work on disparities, equity and quality improvement . The AAMC has selected 13 winners of the award for outstanding innovations in medical education, care delivery, research and diversity and inclusion. The award recognizes institutions that have implemented system-wide processes that improve the opportunity for research within quality improvement, health equity, and research using data from electronic health records.