Dartmouth Health Diversity Efforts Reach Another Milestone

Dartmouth Health Diversity efforts Reach another Milestone
Malcolm Teresa

Teresa Dean Malcolm, Dartmouth Health’s first Vice President of DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging), is leading the effort to infuse more DEIB throughout the health care system. (Photo courtesy Dartmouth Health)

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging efforts at Dartmouth Health acquired a new champion in April 2022, when the system named Teresa Dean Malcolm its first vice president of DEIB.

A year — and a great deal of progress — later, the physician executive says the health system marked another DEIB milestone: a record philanthropic investment supporting DEIB at Dartmouth Cancer Center.

In April 2023, Dartmouth Health received a $2.5-million gift from former Dartmouth-Hitchcock Trustee Barbara Couch and her husband, Dick Couch, to establish the Couch Endowed Fund for Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellowships at Dartmouth Cancer Center.

The gift was amplified by matching funds from donor Dorothy M. Byrne’s gift that established the Byrne Family Cancer Research Institute. This brought the total endowment for Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellowships to $5 million.

Malcolm says the donation, and Dartmouth Health’s attention to DEIB, will have a direct impact on patient care and outcomes.

“So DEIB in healthcare, it’s about having increased representation,” says Malcolm, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist. “Providers who identify with and represent the full breadth of our patient population.”

Studies show that when patients see themselves represented in their providers, it builds trust and leads to improved outcomes, she says.

“We want to deliver world class care. When I think about world class care, I think about care that’s culturally compassionate and culturally competent, that takes my whole being into account,” she says.

That cultural competence can be helped by having diverse teams who reflect the various communities they’re caring for and have an intuitive understanding of the issues they may be facing, including those that may not be obvious to a provider unfamiliar with a patient’s culture or community.

The gift from the Couch family directly impacts this goal.

“This is an opportunity for us to recruit more faculty from diverse backgrounds, and really put the research into how we’re delivering the care,” she says. “What are the treatment modalities? What are the plans we have now that we could redesign for them to be more equitable?”

She calls the donation, “a great coming together of two passions from the Couch family, DEIB and cancer research. Hopefully one day it leads to the eradication of cancer.”

In the meantime, she’s driving to keep DEIB a key part of the Dartmouth Health culture. She says she’s seen wins.

“The fact that conversations about DEIB are happening spontaneously and organically is a huge accomplishment,” she says. “We just held our first community impact Social Justice Awards, and that stemmed from social justice and community engagement being part of our core DEIB principles.”

As an organization, we must take a strong stance,” she says. “Equity is a DEIB core principle that we uphold. And we believe in culturally competent care because it will improve the care we will deliver. It will improve the outcomes of our patients. Our employees will be able to give at a higher level because their talents and skills will be embraced.

“By developing an inclusive environment that represents the tapestry of the communities we serve, employees will feel more respected, more accepted, and therefore, will be more engaged. This leads to a better patient experience.”

This article is featured in the fall 2023 issue of 603 Diversity.603 Diversity Fall 2023

603 Diversity’s mission is to educate readers of all backgrounds about the exciting accomplishments and cultural contributions of the state’s diverse communities, as well as the challenges faced and support needed by those communities to continue to grow and thrive in the Granite State.

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