College of Medicine faculty collaborate to reduce healthcare disparities

Following a competitive application process, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recently selected The Ohio State University College of Medicine as one of nine institutions to be part of a Quality Improvement (QI) in Health Care Disparities Collaborative.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is responsible for accrediting most of the graduate medical training programs in the United States. The collaborative will develop a sustainable program to prepare residents and fellows to better engage in quality improvement approaches to address health care disparities. This 18-month initiative is the third in a series by the ACGME focused on optimizing the engagement of residents and fellows in learning to improve their ability to provide quality care. The collaborative recently held its first meeting with all nine institutions in Chicago.

Improving patient care 

Scott Holliday, MD, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education at Ohio State’s College of Medicine and associate professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, represents Ohio State at this collaborative. Dr. Holliday and his team are working on projects aimed at educating healthcare professionals about how to identify and fix healthcare disparities experienced during treatment. Currently focused on three clinical areas – congestive heart failure, cancer screening, and joint replacement – the team will use data to identify differences in health outcomes based on patient demographics.

Jannel Lee-Allen, MD, MUP, is an internal medicine resident at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.  Prior to medical school, Dr. Lee-Allen worked in urban planning and housing development in Detroit, Michigan. She is passionate about issues related to racial disparities and hopes to bring a resident’s perspective to the collaborative.

Here’s an example of health-care disparity:

Two patients suffering from congestive heart failure are discharged from the hospital on the same day. Both are referred to cardiac rehabilitation; only one patient goes to the prescribed therapy. The other patient doesn’t have a car and isn’t well enough to ride the bus. Two weeks post-discharge, this patient is readmitted to the hospital. In this scenario, a QI project team would work to create new system processes to ensure transportation is available for all patients who need it.

The collaborative hopes to improve the quality of care for all patients as well as educate future physicians on important issues related to healthcare disparity. This project will engage medical students, residents and fellows, teaching them the importance of cultural humility in medicine. Dr. Holliday notes that the College of Medicine has been successful in recruiting an empathetic and caring student body, and believes this initiative has great potential to impact the future of patient care.

Ohio State’s team includes Filsan Farah, MD (resident, Internal Medicine), Autumn Glover (Community Relations), Iahn Gonsenhauser, MD, MBA, (chief quality and patient safety officer), Diane Gorgas, MD (professor of Emergency Medicine), Darrell Gray, II, MD, MPH, (assistant professor of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition), Suzanne Hoholik (Quality and Operations), Scott Holliday (associate dean of graduate medical) education, Mary Howard, DNP, RN, (executive director, East Hospital), Jannel Lee-Allen, MD (resident, Internal Medicine), Leon McDougle, MD, MPH, (chief diversity officer), Travis Sims (Cancer Program Analytics), and Milly Valverde (Destination Medicine).