Holding Your Own Health Equity M&M
Health equity M&M discussions provide a framework for recognizing and
examining our biases and identifying the ways systemic racism exists
within our organizations. Attendees can learn to think critically and
identify when to advocate for patients from historically marginalized
communities to help ensure they receive the highest quality clinical care.
Health equity M&Ms foster a space conducive to building a community of
professionals focused on achieving health equity, allowing for discussions
of charged but necessary topics.
Foundationally, the health equity M&M discussions should serve as one of
many mechanisms to address forms of systemic marginalization of patients
in your organization. Before launching a health equity M&M series, ask
Is your organization collecting data on health equity issues? Are you
able to measure and identify disparities in care?
Are there individuals or teams who are compensated to consider equity,
diversity, and inclusion issues in your organization? Has there been
training on these issues, while consistently examining localized EDI
Is your organization ready and equipped to bring in an outside
consultant or advisor to conduct equity M&Ms?
Once you’ve established that your organization is ready and equipped, we
recommend considering the following elements:
First, identify a highly skilled facilitator who is knowledgeable about
health equity and racism in medicine. This person may already be on your
staff or may be an external consultant.
It is critical to have a health equity content expert with strong
facilitator skills because harm can be caused and perpetuated when charged
conversations are handled poorly. In addition, the attendees will benefit
from being pressed to think differently and consider new information and
Look for a facilitator with experience in discussing issues such as social
and health inequities, structural racism, and other forms of oppression,
as well as experience in facilitating social and health equity and justice
Next, establish a process for collecting topic ideas and cases. In advance
of the session, the facilitator should become familiar with the nuances of
the case and identify the key health equity issues, questions, and
concerns to discuss at the session.
Before your first session, establish group goals and ground rules to
ensure a positive group experience. It is important to foster a space
that’s conducive to building a community of professionals focused on
achieving health equity. If you are using your organization’s coordinated
quality improvement program, or CQIP, to protect confidentiality,
communicate expectations and ensure they are met consistently.
As you prepare, establish the questions you’ll use consistently across all
cases to frame the discussion. For example:
- How has inequity played out in this case?
- What role did we have in perpetuating inequity?
How do we ensure that individuals and systems can prevent this from
happening in the future?
Have we created the culture to allow this case to be addressed in real
Health equity M&Ms provide opportunities for rich conversations amongst
peers about how to advance health equity in your practice and