North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
2012 ERASE Racism Corporate Honoree
The North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System began in 1997 as two separate hospital systems – the North Shore Health System and LIJ Medical Center. An integral part of their communities, both were very familiar with the neighborhoods and the residents they served. The executives of both institutions knew numerous members of their multi-racial, multi-ethnic workforce by name and took pride in their staff members’ individual and community achievements.
Today, 15 years after the merger, the North Shore-LIJ Health System has a service area that includes more than seven million people throughout the New York metropolitan area. North Shore-LIJ recognizes its obligations to the diverse communities it serves and is committed to promoting, sustaining and advancing an environment that supports the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, health literacy and community.
To demonstrate its commitment to these principles, the Health System and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine in July 2010 established the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy, headed by Jennifer Mieres, MD. As communities throughout the New York metropolitan area have become more diverse, North Shore-LIJ identified inclusion and health literacy as core characteristics of the organization and as key components to its mission to provide high-quality care. The Health System is dedicated to advancing cultural and linguistic competence, and promoting effective communication to eliminate health disparities and enhance patient outcomes. One example of the Health System’s diversity and inclusion initiatives is the ongoing Administrative Fellowship Program that was started seven years ago with the mission of training a multicultural group of future health care leaders.
Being sensitive to cultural beliefs and customs (often referred to as “cultural competency”), both among patients and fellow team members, is a critical component to achieving the Health System’s mission to deliver quality care to patients and families throughout its 15 hospitals, more than 200 ambulatory care centers and other programs. The initiatives implemented to accomplish this goal include:
- The launching of a new campaign to expand employee awareness and reinforce a culture of collaboration, innovation and leadership to improve quality of life for patients and communities in North Shore-LIJ’s service area.
- The partnership with North Shore-LIJ’s corporate university, the Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), to initiate classes on Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy that introduce and stress the importance of these principles to North Shore-LIJ professionals and other members of the healthcare team.
- The creation of a website for the Office with accessible health information for the public in Spanish as well as English.
- The establishment of a health literacy volunteer program to assist individuals with navigation through the hospital setting.
- The recent development of an Allied Health Care community-based task force to identify, support and provide mentoring for under-represented, culturally diverse members of the community who are interested in pursuing careers in healthcare.
- The initiation of new partnerships with organizations that focus on literacy skills and promote health literacy to reduce disparities.
The North Shore-LIJ Health System is committed to excellence and equity in healthcare for all of the people it serves. The mission of the entire Health System, the new Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and of other plans underway supports the advancement of equity, diversity, inclusion, health literacy and community.