As a non-profit, Cheshire Medical Center's mission to advance the health and wellness of the Monadnock Region to the individuals and communities we serve is foundational.
Population health is about everybody; our people—all staff, and our community—all residents and visitors in the area we serve.
In 2019, Cheshire undertook a DEIB assessment to identify opportunities for improvement. Our Board of Trustees established a framework and a resolution that "recognizes a commitment to diversity and inclusion as a priority for this organization and the adherence to the principle of health equity across our campus and its satellite locations."
Cheshire's DEIB Program Committee includes staff of different ages, races, ethnicities, genders, parental statuses, educational backgrounds, and religious or spiritual practices, who work together to understand our community's diversity and its importance to our commitment to deliver excellent, compassionate care in a safe and well-run environment.
The Committee has 3 goals to integrate this important work into Cheshire's strategic plan:
- Develop new education and training opportunities to increase awareness of DEIB at the leadership and staff levels.
- Identify employee and patient-related policies from a DEIB perspective to identify gaps or necessary updates.
- Participate in strategies with external partners in the region that we serve to encourage our communities to be inclusive and welcoming.
Some recent activities supporting these goals:
- World Map project
- Cultural heritage celebration days in the Art Nichols Cafe
- Reviewing policies related to patient discrimination toward staff
- Sponsoring and participating in Keene Pride events
- Contributing to the Monadnock DEIB Coalition
As the community we serve becomes more diverse, its needs change. Understanding our current community is especially important in delivering quality healthcare because health needs vary by age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic levels, and other factors.
Diversity in recruitment, education, and retention of employees also supports our organization's sustainability in a changing environment. Welcoming and supporting a diverse staff is essential to achieving our mission.
We emphasize health equity because everyone needs a fair opportunity to be healthy. There is ample evidence that health disparities persist despite legal requirements establishing equality in law, especially for marginalized groups.
Inclusion is integral to this work, emphasizing an intentional, active engagement with the diversity of our care teams and the patients and visitors we serve. It is a process that goes beyond passive acceptance of someone different than oneself.
Belonging is the feeling of security and support. It binds a community, drives engagement, and supports resilience. Belonging is the desired outcome of an environment where inclusion is a priority.
Understanding the data
Beyond the broad range of personal identities and backgrounds of our DEIB committee members, their efforts are driven by understanding the evolving demographics of Cheshire County's 76,458** residents.
For example, our county's net population has declined since 2010, with children under 17 years old declining by 17.8%. However, the population aged 65 years+ increased by 48%. The largest racial/ethnic group in 2020 was non-Hispanic White at 93.8%, with the population of other racial/ethnic groups increasing by 32% to 4,741 people. These changes affect the services our community members need to achieve health and well-being.
Other sources vital to this work
City of Keene's Racial Justice and Community Safety Committee's 2021 report. This report illustrated the importance of all community members understanding that all people are harmed by racism and that it takes the whole community to make changes to improve equity and inclusivity. Overcoming racial inequity and bias in Keene will require disrupting local complacency to expand every person's knowledge base.
Institute of Medicine's seminal report' Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities' and recent research on addressing disparities in promoting health and providing healthcare services.
Providing high-quality healthcare to every person in our community and supporting good patient outcomes is central to Cheshire Medical Center's mission.
Dartmouth Health employee resource groups
Members of Team Cheshire also join other employees from across the Dartmouth Health system in employee resource groups (ERGs), voluntary, employee-led, employer-recognized groups of people who join together based on shared interests, identities, or life experiences. ERGs create a positive and safe space for:
- Friendship and support
- Personal and professional development
ERGs collaborate to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at Dartmouth Health and in the community. Learn more and get involved.