Person-Centered Engagement at the Organizational Level Change Package
Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation Health Care Transformation Task Force
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Diversity and Inclusion Considerations

It is essential to recruit consumers and families that represent a diverse cross-section of the population your organization serves. Every consumer of health care is unique and different, bringing richness to the personal and collective feedback that health care organizations want and need. By prioritizing diversity in their approaches to engagement, organizations will be better prepared to address health disparities experienced by their enrollees and to improve the overall quality and delivery of health care services.

There are many factors of diversity – including demographic and non-demographic – for an organization to consider:

Demographic factors

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race, ethnicity
  • Language spoken
  • Religion
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Relationship status (including family and other supports)
  • Education level
  • Living arrangements/type of residence
  • Sexual orientation/gender identity

Non-demographic factors

  • Medical condition/disability type
  • Services used
  • Geographic location (urban vs. rural, neighborhood)
  • Lived experience (e.g., immigrant/refugee, formerly incarcerated, formerly homeless)
  • Primary care site

Pro Tip: Invite Potential Advisors to Share Demographic Information

Be sure to ask all potential advisors to complete an application form that includes a list of demographic and non-demographic factors of diversity. This section should be strictly voluntary, but if completed, it will allow the organization to screen and select a diverse set of advisors.

Organizations should tailor their recruitment approach and their materials to the demographic they are trying to reach. For instance, an organization that serves a population with a significant Latinx population must translate flyers, newsletters and electronic materials into Spanish and should circulate them to a wide array of organizations serving this community. In addition, make sure these materials are welcoming, for example, by including photos that are representative of the population who you are trying to reach.

Note from the Field

Children’s Mercy Kansas City operates a system-wide PFACs specifically for Spanish-speaking families, El Consejo de Familias Latinas/Hispanas (the Council of Latino/ Hispanic Families or El Consejo). This PFAC meets monthly to inform hospital quality, safety and patient experience practices and is guided by its own by-laws, membership guidelines, patient and family engagement policies, and manual.

Aside from making sure you have all the right voices at the table, health organizations must engage in a thoughtful planning process to ensure that their engagement strategies are inclusive. An inclusive environment ensures that advisors, particularly those from historically underserved communities, feel that they belong. In other words, health care organizations should take steps to make sure that advisors are treated as equals and that their voice is heard. Some examples of how to do this include:

Your health organization could also consider offering staff members involved in engagement training opportunities on inclusion, cultural humility and/or anti-racism.

Self-Assessment Questions

On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 indicating “strongly disagree” and 5 indicating “strongly agree”), rate your organization’s performance on the following questions:

  • We have consumer advisors that represent the full diversity of the populations our organization serves, including those that are historically excluded.
  • Our written recruitment materials are translated into all the languages spoken by the communities we serve.
  • To identify potential advisors that represent the populations our organization serves, we conduct outreach to external community-based organizations that are led by people who are from and/or that serve those populations.
  • We ask all prospective advisors to complete an application form that includes a (voluntary) section on demographic and non-demographic factors.
  • We take concrete steps to make sure we are creating an inclusive environment in which people from historically excluded communities feel welcome, respected and encouraged to fully participate.
  • We regularly step back to assess whose voices are missing and then work to recruit new advisors who can bring that missing perspective.
  • We share leadership with our advisors, for example, by planning meeting agendas together or co-chairing committees. 


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The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

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