Top 10 | 2018 50 Out Front


Atrium Health


Rank No. 4: Atrium Health
Location of Headquarters: Charlotte, NC
# of Employees: 65,000

CEO: Eugene Woods

CDE: Dr. Kinneil Coltman, DHA


Atrium Health strives to foster a culture that integrates diversity and inclusion into all aspects of operations. As one of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations, we carry a tremendous responsibility to provide compassionate, culturally competent care and to lead the nation in clinical excellence. As evidenced by our mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, diversity, inclusion and equity of care are top priorities.

Leading this work, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has developed a Diversity Agenda, which has three-prongs: Patients come first, teammates are the key and every community matters. This is the framework through which all diversity initiatives are developed and implemented throughout Atrium Health.

Patients Come First

Effectively provide care that responds to the unique needs of every patient

Atrium Health leads the way in the reduction of health care disparities. The breadth of work in this space spans many different areas of our organization.

One of our key initiatives is using data and analytics to identify opportunities to improve care and outcomes for populations of patients that are often missed with general quality analyses. By stratifying data — which is a more efficient sampling technique than simple random selection — by race, ethnicity, gender and location, we can identify trends and proactively address them in ways that directly improve the health and wellness of our communities.

As a result of our work in this space, we found opportunities to improve colorectal cancer screening rates among Latino/ Hispanic males, our primary focus for 2018. Additionally, we updated our intake systems to enable the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data to further our ability to provide culturally competent care to patients from every background.

Teammates are The Key

Promote diversity, engage teammates and help them grow together

To promote cultural competence and strengthen the skill sets of our teammates, the D&I team offers a broad educational platform on topics such as: diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, health equity, unconscious bias and inclusive leadership. These educational opportunities are accessible both online and in-person.

“Don’t be afraid to tackle the tough conversations.”
–Dr. Kinneil Coltman, DHA, Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer,
Atrium Health

For example, our nationally recognized Diversity Certificate Program is a six-week, in-depth program that uses a variety of education and real-life experiences to build on leaders’ and team members’ skill sets. Opportunities such as this enable our workforce to act as “force multipliers,” helping to cascade this knowledge throughout the organization. Our robust infrastructure of diversity councils, committees, employee resource groups (ERGs), networking groups and volunteers provide added touch points to our patients, communities and other teammates.

Additionally, we have created leadership pipeline programs to help increase diversity among future leaders. Our goal is to develop a leadership team that matches demographics of the communities we serve.

Every Community Matters

Develop lasting partnerships that support diverse and atrisk communities

In 2016, Atrium Health — then Carolinas HealthCare System — led its first Community Health Improvement study. The results drew attention to populations within a six-zip code area surrounding Charlotte’s city center, now referred to as “the crescent.” These areas were identified as public health priority areas due to the number of socioeconomic factors they experience, also referred to as social determinants of health. These determinants, such as one’s home environment, language, education level, income, etc., often lead to health and healthcare disparities.

The data derived from this study was one of the primary drivers behind the collaboration between Novant Health, Atrium Health and the Mecklenburg County Health Department, known as the ONE Charlotte Health Alliance.

The ONE Charlotte Health Alliance is working to develop and implement a strategy to improve primary care access within the crescent. The strategy includes expanding community partnerships, the placement of community health workers and a free clinic in the public health priority areas.

As a direct result of the Community Health Improvement Study, Atrium Health developed the Community Resource Hub, an interactive repository that connects community members to free and reduced cost resources from local, state and national providers. Launched in January, the Community Resource Hub is available to all residents of the Carolinas.

Charlotte’s challenges over the past two years made headlines when protests erupted after a black man, Keith Lamont Scott, was shot and killed by police in 2016, followed by the shooting of Justin Carr, who was killed during a second night of protests. Additionally, Charlotte ranked last in an analysis of economic mobility in America’s 50 largest cities by the Equality of Opportunity Project.

When social and political climates get dicey, it is tempting to shy away from difficult conversations. It is during times like this that we must find the courage to listen and share with open hearts and minds. One of the ways Atrium Health encourages this sharing is through our community-facing First Responders Series. These 90-minute moderated dialogues provide a safe space for discussion and expression, with a tenor to raise awareness.

An internal offshoot of the series – appropriately named Courageous Conversations – affords Atrium Health teammates an opportunity for healing and acceptance, so that the divisiveness around us does not stand in the way of our important mission: To improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all.

By tackling issues head on, we become a part of the solution. When we have courageous conversations, internally and externally, they ripple out into our communities and nation.