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DSC Projects

The Disparities Solutions Center is currently engaged in several projects, which vary in terms of audience, aim, geographic location and length, in order to achieve its mission – to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. To find out more information about these projects, please choose a category below and select a project to read its description. For more information on MGH, regional, and national projects, please click the links in the side bar.



Current Projects


The Disparities Leadership Program
To address the need for leaders with expertise in addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health care, the DSC sponsors a Disparities Leadership Program, which was launched in 2007.  The Disparities Leadership Program (DLP) is a yearlong executive education program designed for leaders from hospitals, health plans and other health care organizations – such as executive leaders, medical directors, directors of quality and directors of community benefits or multicultural affairs offices - who wish to implement practical strategies to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care, particularly through quality improvement. Goals of the DLP include:

  • The creation of a cadre of leaders in health care equipped with a) in-depth knowledge of the field of disparities, including root causes and research to date; b) cutting-edge quality improvement strategies for identifying and addressing disparities; and c) the leadership skills to implement these strategies and help transform their organizations.
  •  Helping individuals from organizations—who may be at the beginning stages or in the middle of developing or implementing an action plan or project to address disparities—to further advance or improve their work in a customized, tailored fashion.

Read more about the DLP
Download a full PDF description
Download the Application

Click on the infographic below for an overview of the DLP:

Disparities Leadership Program Infographic

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Pediatric Health Equity Collaborative (PHEC)

A concrete outgrowth of the Disparities Leadership Program and the Health Care Quality and Equity Action Forum has been the development of a Pediatric Health Equity Collaborative comprised of 11 organizations working together with the goals of establishing best practices, lessons learned, and recommendations for the field with regard to race, ethnicity, language, and other demographic data collection in pediatric care settings.

Click here for more information about PHEC


The Healthcare Quality and Equity Action Forum

The Healthcare Quality and Equity Action Forum provides the background, key drivers, and essential strategies to improve quality and achieve equity in a time of rapid healthcare system change. Leaders from multiple disciplines and health care organizations who work in the areas of quality and safety; disparities, diversity and equity; health policy; and health care design and delivery, as well as anyone interested in these fields, will find the Forum to be a unique and highly valuable experience and will leave better equipped to deliver high-value health care to diverse populations.

The second Healthcare Quality and Equity Action Forum, Pursuing High-Value Healthcare, took place in Boston, MA on June 19th and 20th, 2014. The Forum had over 180 attendees and served as a dissemination and implementation conference developed and led by the DSC, as well as alumni from the Disparities Leadership Program.

Click here for more information about the Healthcare Quality and Equity Action Forum


Planning, Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Programs: Reducing Health Disparities through Quality Improvement

The Disparities Solutions Center is collaborating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) through a contract with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to design, implement, and evaluate a portfolio of quality improvement programs to address disparities for racial and ethnic minorities, patients with limited English proficiency, sexual and gender minorities, and people with disabilities.

The initial phase of this work involved developing the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare, available here.

The plan will guide CMS OMH in supporting Quality Improvement Networks and Quality Improvement Organizations; Hospital Engagement Networks; federal, state, and local government agencies; health care providers; policy makers; and Medicare beneficiaries to achieve health equity.

Click here for more information about this project


Patient Safety Systems for Patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

The Disparities Solutions Center, in collaboration with Abt Associates, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, was awarded a four year contract by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop tools to reduce medical errors and improve care for patients with LEP in hospitals. The project used a robust mixed methods approach to 1) identify the role of language and cultural barriers on patient safety events; 2) document how hospitals are addressing the safety of culturally diverse patients and patients with LEP; and 3) provide guidance and tools for how hospitals can address these issues. The final products, including a Hospital Guide and a TeamSTEPPS Training Module focused on improving team communication to reduce medical errors for patients with LEP, have been released for public use.

The Hospital Guide provides quality and safety leaders within hospitals with a variety of key guidelines and strategies for identifying, reporting, and addressing medical errors that occur as a result of language barriers in culturally diverse patients and patients with LEP. The Guide also provides hospital leaders with systems-level information on how to develop reporting systems that can successfully capture medical errors that predominantly affect patients with LEP, as well as modalities that can be implemented to prevent errors for culturally diverse patients and patients with LEP. The TeamSTEPPS training module is designed for the full interprofessional care team, including interpreters, and includes a case-based video vignette of a patient with LEP in the emergency room. The goal of the Module is to help the interprofessional care team acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors needed to reduce the number and severity of patient safety events that affect culturally diverse patients and patients with LEP. These tools are currently available to view.

Click here to view the Hospital Guide.
Click here to view the TeamSTEPPS Module.

Interprofessional Curriculum: Providing Safe & Effective Care for Patients with Limited English Proficiency

The Disparities Solutions Center, in collaboration with the MGH Institute of Health Professions (MGH IHP) and with the support of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has developed an interprofessional curriculum to educate students in the health professions to:
  • Understand the evidence of disparities and high rate of medical errors, particularly for patients with limited English proficiency
  • Work effectively with interpreters and other care team members to ensure safe, high quality care for patients with limited English proficiency
  • Explore how systems of care can be improved to ensure quality and safety for patients with limited English proficiency in a team environment

This curriculum has been pilot tested with an interprofessional group of students from Harvard Medical School and the MGH IHP School of Nursing and is now available for educators in the health professions who are interested in incorporating training on providing safe, effective care for patients with limited English proficiency in an interprofessional environment.

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Aetna Foundation
“Leading the Way for the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health”
The Disparities Solutions Center, in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, is working to design and implement a program focused on developing new leaders and empowering existing leaders interested in disparities reduction efforts. The program includes a one-year HealthCare Disparities Fellowship designed to train new leaders in the areas of cultural competence, community oriented research, and elimination of racial/ethnic disparities in health care. It also includes a Disparities Leadership Forum – a one-time event that would provide an opportunity for leaders who are addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health care to come together for a semi-structured, interactive, strategy session and think-tank on eliminating disparities.
Project Directors: Alexander R. Green, M.D., M.P.H. & Joseph Betancourt, M.D., M.P.H.

Read more about the Aetna/DSC HealthCare Disparities Fellowship or download our pdf version. 

Case Studies Highlighting Promising Disparities Solutions

Aetna's Program in Health Care Disparities: The Diabetes Pilot Program
This case study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Click here to view this case study.

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Web Seminars and Discussion Forums

The Disparities Solutions Center is committed to disseminating the latest information on disparities interventions, findings from important disparities research and health policy updates regarding disparities reduction efforts. In order to disseminate this information to the broadest possible audience in a stimulating and interactive manner, the DSC hosts several web seminars and discussion forums each year.

Stand Against Racism
The Disparities Solutions Center, the Multicultural Affairs Office, and the Center for Community Health Improvement came together to host the Annual YWCA Stand Against Racism Event. The Stand Against Racism™is a national movement that was initiated to raise awareness and educate audiences on the racism that still exists in our communities. The objective of these "Stands" is to bring organizations around the nation together to unite and eliminate racism.

Multicultural Affairs Office and Disparities Solutions Center Film Series
The Schwartz Center, MGH Multicultural Affairs Office, and the DSC, collaborated to produce a film series to raise awareness around the issues of racial and ethnic disparities and cross-cultural care. The goal of the Film Series is to raise awareness of health disparities and cross-cultural care among health care providers through the screening of popular and documentary films, followed by expert panel discussions and question-and-answer periods. Through the use of this format, we aim to improve health care providers’ ability to understand and communicate with diverse patient populations, and be more skilled in cross-cultural communication.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities – Keeping Current Seminar Series
The Keeping Current Seminar Series, which was launched in 2006, features informative presentations from experts in the field; context, perspectives and opinions from key health care stakeholders; and opportunity for discussion from all participants and attendees.

For more information on upcoming live events, click here.

To view the archive of our past Keeping Current events, please click here.

Web Seminar Series on Race/Ethnicity Data Collection
Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Please visit our archives to view our web seminars that addressed issues on collecting Race/Ethnicity data.

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