ChristianaCare Earns National Award for Equity of Care from American Hospital Association

Bettina Tweardy Riveros

The American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity named ChristianaCare a 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award honoree.

The Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award is an annual recognition of outstanding efforts among hospitals and health care systems to advance equity of care to all patients and to spread lessons learned and progress toward diversity, inclusion, and health equity. Lewis was the first African American and first hospital trustee to chair the AHA Board.

“At ChristianaCare, we are committed to improving health for everyone—in all of the communities we serve,” said Bettina Tweardy Riveros, chief health equity officer at ChristianaCare.

“This commitment is driven by our values of love and excellence and reinforced by a clear focus on addressing and reducing the impacts of social barriers to health in vulnerable populations.”

ChristianaCare partnered with barbershops and salons in Wilmington, Delaware, to help underserved neighborhoods prevent the spread of COVID-19.

ChristianaCare was recognized for making health equity a system priority. For example, caregivers routinely screen patients to identify social needs and then connect those patients with services necessary to achieve optimal health.

ChristianaCare has embedded community health workers into its primary care, women’s health, school-based health centers, emergency departments and healthy lifestyle/food security programs to provide wrap-around services and connections to care and resources for at-risk patients who are Medicaid eligible or uninsured.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, ChristianaCare partnered with trusted community organizations, including Kingswood Community Center and the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware, to make COVID-19 testing and care accessible in underserved neighborhoods.

A sign language interpreter assists patient Carl Ravilious at a COVID-19 vaccination event.

These partnerships placed services in frequently visited and visible organizations to increase responsiveness in a culturally and linguistically appropriate format.  Each site was staffed and operated with bilingual staff and video remote interpretation for telehealth visits. ChristianaCare’s Language Interpreter Network supports care with medical interpreters in 21 languages.

“ChristianaCare strives to infuse cultural responsiveness into all aspects of care,” said Jacqueline Ortiz, M.Phil, director of Health Equity and Cultural Competence at ChristianaCare.

“To implement best practices, we need to understand how factors like race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, disabilities and social needs all impact every patient’s ability to thrive.”