Orlando Health, United Way of Broward County, and Moffitt Cancer Center recently completed pilot sessions for a voluntary Health Equity Train-the-Trainer program to improve health equity across the state. The pilot sessions began in April and concluded in May. The partners will launch the first sessions later this summer.

The three organizations are partnering with support from a combined $2.5 million health equity grant awarded by the Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan.

The train-the-trainer program is designed to educate health care professionals on health equity issues and useful strategies that help ensure families and community members have both the access and opportunity to attain their full health potential and are not disadvantaged due to environmental, economic, and/or social circumstance.

“We are delighted and moved by the engagement of participants in the pilot and their eagerness to take the next steps for change in their organization and communities,” said Quibulah Graham, MSPH, BSN, senior director, Diversity & Minority Business Development, Orlando Health. “The training was uniquely designed with impactful content, which includes extensive research, real-life case studies, and other learning strategies. This approach helps ensure participants build their awareness about health care disparities, along with ways to implement viable solutions to turn health disparities into health equity. We hope these components help prepare participants to reach a comfort level to teach others to help improve care, continuing the process and opportunities to ensure health equity in all our communities.”

The voluntary training consists of live group and independent completion web-based modules to offer a deep dive into health equity.

The opening session, Launch Day, was a live group module and consists of various topics, including an overview of health equity and a review of inequity data for Florida. After Launch Day, participants completed independent web-based modules that cover health disparities, bias and stereotyping, communication strategies, cross-cultural communication, equity in communication and implementing change for health equity. The last session, Landing Day, was also a live group session where participants debriefed about individual learning experiences and discussed ways participants could apply what they learned into their roles at work, and how to train others in their workplaces.
“Health disparities remain trenchant in part because the problem seems so large and complex people don’t know where to begin or if they individually can make a difference,” said Cathy Grant, vice president, chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer with Enterprise Equity at Moffitt Cancer Center. “This first-of-its-kind training aims to empower health providers with the knowledge, skill and abilities to not only care for populations from a variety of social identities but also to engage in systems change. Everyone can be part of the shift needed to close of the gap of differential health outcomes.” 

The train-the-trainer program strategy is to recruit health care providers working in health care facilities and health-related organizations throughout the state who will then take the information back to share with others in their organizations and throughout their communities. Training participants will include anyone working in health care with direct interactions with patients or clients.

“We believe that health equity is a basic human right, and an attainable one,” said Kathleen Cannon president and CEO of United Way of Broward County. “The train-the-trainer program will encourage providers working in healthcare facilities and health-related organizations throughout the state to expand their understanding of health disparities and learn how to implement change for greater health equity for all.”

The three organizations announced the program in June 2021. With support from the Florida Blue Foundation, the program will train more than 3,000 health care professionals over a four-year period.

“Improving health equity across our state is essential to our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health,” said Susan Towler, executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation. “Through this innovative collaboration, we believe these three organizations can make great strides in educating and supporting health care providers across the state in their efforts to help Floridians reach optimal health, regardless of environmental, economic or social circumstances.”

For more information and to register for the program, please visit https://healthequityprogram.org/orlando-health.