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Insights From the National Employers Summit: Cultivating Health Equity in the Modern Workplace
May 9, 2024

Insights From the National Employers Summit: Cultivating Health Equity in the Modern Workplace

The Health Action Alliance’s second annual National Employers Summit, held on April 25, 2024, provided valuable insights and practical strategies for cultivating health equity in the contemporary workplace. Did you miss the summit? Here's a recap to catch you up on all the highlights. And for those who attended, this cheat sheet provides a quick reference to revisit key insights and takeaways. You can watch the full recording of the event, which was sponsored by Gilead Sciences, ViiV Healthcare, Ada Health and MISTR, below.

Panel Snapshot:
Why Health Equity Is Good for Business

Nearly four out of every five (78%) employers are currently taking action to improve health equity. And businesses that make strategic investments in health equity are seeing better outcomes in recruitment, retention, operations and employee health. Dr. Jay Bhatt, physician and Managing Director of both the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Deloitte Health Equity Institute, and Vikki Walton, Senior Principal and Health Equity Leader at Mercer, discussed the employee health and business benefits of investing in health equity and shared tips to get started.

Top Takeaways:

  • Health equity does not mean the same care for everyone; health equity means everyone has a fair and just opportunity to reach their highest potential for health and well-being. “People require different support because of their circumstance, their lived experience, the environment they live in, and a whole host of factors and drivers of health,” Dr. Bhatt said.

  • For workers to thrive and for work to be sustainable, health equity should be integrated in how employers think and operate. “Employers are uniquely positioned to impact a significant number of employees when it comes to disparities and health inequities, and to look to provide equitable care for their employee population,” Walton said.

  • Employers can be more effective when they collaborate with community-based organizations on solutions to address these disparities. “Sometimes we go to the margins to help them, and it turns out that the margins help us and teach us,” Dr. Bhatt said. “We have to come with humility, with empathy, with listening. … The community-based organizations inform us, they teach us, they give us perspective on issues we should be researching, ways we should be investing, interventions that matter."

Take-Home Tactics:

  1. Start by looking at your workforce population’s demographic data, social vulnerability data and medical data to determine which populations are experiencing significant disparities in their health care access and outcomes.

  2. Conduct an assessment of current benefits and health equity initiatives to determine whether they are inclusive to the cohorts you identified. Pinpoint gaps and identify areas for improvement or expansion. Do employees have access to culturally competent providers who understand their lived experiences? Does your provider network address your employees’ specific social vulnerabilities and medical needs? “We can’t just cookie-cutter our benefits for everyone. We have to be very strategic in our approach, very targeted,” Walton said.

  3. Ensure access to quality health care tailored to your employees’ needs, and use targeted messaging to promote awareness of the benefits and resources available to them.

  4. Implement educational programs with employee resource groups to reduce stigma surrounding health issues.
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Panel Snapshot: Health Equity in the WorkplaceHIV in the News

This Company in Action panel spotlighted Chevron’s efforts to combat HIV, which disproportionately impacts Black, Latino and LGBTQ+ people. Michael Steinberg, Chevron’s Global Public Health & Special Projects – HSE, Health & Medical, discussed the company’s pioneering approach to addressing HIV in the workplace, developing comprehensive policies and educating the workforce — providing a model for addressing broader health equity issues.

Top Takeaways:

  • Chevron’s initial motivation for addressing HIV stemmed from its commitment to employee well-being and a desire to protect its workforce and invest in community health.

  • The development of comprehensive HIV policies involved a collaborative process, with input from employees, healthcare experts and community stakeholders to ensure alignment with the company’s values and goals.

  • Educational programs are crucial in reducing stigma and promoting prevention, with initiatives tailored to the workforce’s diverse needs and delivered through various channels to maximize engagement and effectiveness.

  • Addressing HIV in the workplace has served as a model for tackling other health equity issues, fostering a culture of inclusivity, innovation and social responsibility that extends beyond HIV prevention and treatment.

Take-Home Tactics:

  1. Engage in a collaborative process with diverse stakeholders to develop comprehensive health equity policies that address prevention, discrimination and health care coverage.

  2. Implement educational programs and awareness campaigns to reduce the stigma surrounding health issues including HIV and promote prevention and treatment options, utilizing various communication channels to reach and engage all employees.

  3. Foster a workplace culture of inclusivity and support by providing resources and support networks, promoting empathy, understanding and access to confidential healthcare services.

  4. Explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration with external organizations to leverage collective resources and expertise in driving progress toward shared health equity goals.

  5. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of health equity initiatives and policies through feedback mechanisms and data analysis, adjusting strategies to ensure ongoing improvement and alignment with employees’ needs and organizational objectives.

Resource Roundup

Mark Your Calendars

Thursday, May 16, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PTNational HIV Testing Day Workshop for Employers,

Wednesday, June 12, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PTClimate & Workforce Health: Protecting Employees from Extreme Heat,

Thank you for your commitment and leadership.
Let's keep up the momentum!