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Health Equity Research

Prepared by Monique Lambert, PhD

Establishing a Health Equity Research Division in the Office of Research Patient Care Services

In 2021, SHC established a Health Equity Research Division in the Office of Research Patient Care Services (ORPCS) under the leadership of Dr. Michelle Y. Williams, PhD, RN, ORPCS Executive Director and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Primary Care and Population Health at Stanford Medicine. The focus of SHC’s Health Equity Research Division is to identify health and healthcare disparities experienced by adult patients across SHC’s inpatient and ambulatory patient care environments, settings, and practices.


In October 2021, Dr. Michelle Y. Williams, PhD, RN (ORPCS Executive Director), Dr. Amy Lu, MD, MPH (former Associate Chief Quality Officer for Health Equity), and Monique H. Lambert, PhD (ORPCS Director of Health Equity Research) delivered an inaugural Health Equity Board Education Session to SHC’s Board of Directors. Dr. Williams began the Board Education Session by providing an overview of SHC’s health equity governance structure, operational plan, and newly created ORPCS Health Equity Research Division. Dr. Williams’ presentation included a health equity framework centered on:
(1) advancing SHC’s workforce and leadership diversity, and
(2) achieving health equity in SHC patient outcomes and patient experience.

Dr. Williams described execution of the operational plan beginning with collecting baseline data on workforce and leadership diversity and patient demographics, outcomes, and experience (Level 1), then went on to outline plans for building upon SHC baseline data to advance SHC’s future health equity efforts which included publicly reported data on diversity in SHC’s workforce & leadership and health equity data on patient outcomes and experience (Level 4).

The next segment of the Health Equity Board Education Session, led by Dr. Monique H. Lambert, PhD, focused on deconstructing the terms equality, equity, and disparities from a human-centered, systems perspective. Dr. Lambert’s presentation included a case study, which depicted enrollment of a non-English speaking patient into an inpatient clinical trial, to illustrate ways in which differences in physician, nurse, and patient incentives, interests, and social psychology can inadvertently lead to ‘embedded’ health equity risks in the context of everyday clinical practice.

Dr. Amy Lu, MD, MPH concluded the board session with an update of ongoing health equity efforts led by Stanford Medicine. Dr. Lu described SHC’s upcoming participation in the We Ask Because We Care campaign, targeted for Q4 FY22, focused on collecting health equity-related patient demographic data on gender, age, race/ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status (SES) and primary insurance. Dr. Lu concluded her session by providing an overview of the Stanford Medicine’s Health Equity Action Leadership (HEAL) Network featuring a community partnership with the Aloha Roller Risk in East San Jose aimed at improving equitable access to vaccines for one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s hardest hit communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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