The Healthcare Innovation Congress | May 29-31, 2024 | Washington, DC

thINc360 – The Healthcare Innovation Congress
May 29-31, 2024 | Washington, DC

Fast Five with Arianne D. Dowdell

What challenges or gaps in care are you focused on?

We’re doing an assessment now to see where gaps exist. I think it’s easy to assume there are gaps in healthcare, but I think it’s most beneficial, especially for our patients when we’re able to prove them through data so we can best address any challenges. Rural healthcare is certainly one area we’re focused on, exploring how we are servicing those who may not have access to resources to prevent gaps in care. One way Houston Methodist is able to address this is through community partnerships.

What initiatives are you currently spearheading to improve health?

Our health equity efforts continue to be a primary focus. We have four health equity subcommittees aimed at improving health including: 1) Health parity – examining disparities in health care access among specific groups, with an emphasis on colorectal screenings; 2) Examining social drivers of health and building our dashboard; 3) Mult-visit patient program – looking at patients who frequent emergency rooms for care across the Texas Medical Center; 4) Health literacy – educating patients on the health care system and what types of care are deemed preventative care vs.  emergency room visit or primary care/community care center.

The Houston Methodist Neal Cancer Center is also focused on education and recruitment to make sure we’re improving health through focused DEI efforts.  

What necessary collaborations/partnerships have you established within and/or outside of your organization in developing your initiatives?

Our collaborations with both clinicians and non-clinicians alike have been critical to driving our health equity efforts. We have 34,000 employees and various departments, and our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are embedded within every aspect of our organization. From our DEI/HR collaboration group to our partnership with Spiritual Care, leadership and learning, quality and patient safety, board involvement and more — it is important to tackle DEI and health equity work collaboratively versus in a silo if you truly want to see results.

Beyond our hospital walls, we are entering our fourth year of our Houston Methodist DEI Grant Program which allows us to identify various community partners that can help us bridge the gap and serve our community the best way possible. Through this program, we can not only provide access to healthcare, but also improve their health outcomes through drivers that impact themselves like workforce development, food insecurity, etc.

What are your measurement criteria for success/or current measurable improvements have you realized from the initiative?

At the hospital, we use dashboards for all of our efforts that help us with setting measurable goals and monitoring progress.

Rather than saying there was an inequity we built a dashboard to evaluate access to scheduling and receiving colon cancer screenings among specific patient populations. Based on the findings, we are able to find solutions to correct these disparities.

We use a dashboard to measure social drivers of health and how often are patients disclosing information such on food insecurity, transportation needs, utilities, living situations and personal safety so we can refer them out to community partners for additional support. This is something we’re continuing to build and grow.

What gives your hope for the future in health care?

At Houston Methodist, we are always trying to keep the patient at the center of everything we do. As the needs of our patients and communities change, so do we. Innovation is part of our DNA, and we strive to stay ahead of what not just patients need today, but what they’ll need for the future.

Looking at it from the DEI lens, we are not in the same place we were four years ago. The needs of our workforce have shifted and so have the priorities of our patients. Being able to pivot as necessary has been vital to our success.

Arianne D. Dowdell

Arianne D. Dowdell, JD
Vice President, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer
Houston Methodist

Substitution & Cancellation Policy:

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours prior to the first day of the event. All cancellations must be received in writing no later than 30 calendar days prior to the first day of the event to receive a refund less the $195.00 administrative charge. No refunds will be made after this date. However, the registration fee less the $195.00 administrative charge can be credited toward another comparable event (registration must be received within 6 months of the event from which you cancel). In case of conference cancellation, The Healthcare Innovation Company’s liability is limited to refund of conference registration fee only. Programs are subject to change, and we reserve the right to alter all programs without prior notice.