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Podcast: Putting equity, inclusion, and diversity at the center of care delivery


Nkem Chukwumerije, MD, and Ron Copeland, MD, share vision for how to advance health equity


A pandemic, social unrest, natural disasters, and rapid innovation are among the factors that have led health care to reevaluate what it means to provide equitable care. Social determinants such as economic stability, access to quality education, access to quality health care, neighborhood environment, and social and community support comprise a multidimensional lens through which health and health care disparities are now evaluated.

While people of color and other underrepresented groups continue to experience ongoing disparities in health, there is hope that increased focus on improving access, clinical and workforce training, and closer relationships with communities will help close the gap. Kaiser Permanente’s integrated care model positions it to lead in these areas and promote equitable care by making EID (equity, inclusion, and diversity) a formal dimension of quality improvement while also building community alliances to guide public health improvement partnerships.

Two Kaiser Permanente leaders, Nkem Chukwumerije, MD, and Ron Copeland, MD, are at the center of this work. For the last episode of the 2023 Permanente Medicine Podcast season, Drs. Chukwumerije and Copeland join host Chris Grant to discuss Kaiser Permanente’s latest equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts, examine how the medical community can better serve the underserved in health care, and reflect on their personal journeys.

  • Dr. Copeland is senior vice president of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and chief equity, inclusion, and diversity officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. Dr. Copeland is a board member of the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine and the National Organization on Disability.


We have targeted programs to improve the health of entire disadvantaged populations.

– Nkem Chukwumerije, MD


We’ve formed numerous community alliances to uplift the health status of the communities we serve.

         – Ron Copeland, MD

Drs. Chukwumerije and Copeland speak to the rich history of diversity and inclusion at Kaiser Permanente and their roles in expanding these efforts. They also look at how the last few years have spotlighted equity issues in health care and what can be done to further incorporate EID into the daily efforts of physicians and medical teams.

Related story: “Nkem Chukwumerije, MD, writes in Harvard Business Review that inclusive language promotes health equity

In this episode

2:56 Dr. Copeland’s background and overview of Kaiser Permanente’s EID work

7:15 Dr. Chukwumerije’ s background and EID journey

9:40 Recognizing areas for improvement in health equity

14:11 New frameworks for addressing inequities in health care

16:24 Addressing workplace bias and Belong@KP Part 2

20:49 Belong@KP Part 2 and the role race plays in society

22:18 The PRESS model for promoting racial equity

23:53 Incorporating EID into daily medical practices

27:45 Increasing importance of transparency and accountability

29:19 How individuals can advance equity in their communities

32:45 Embodying the principles of equity and impacting policy

Connect with Chris Grant on Twitter at @cmgrant and Dr. Chukwumerije at @DrChukTSPMG.

Program notes

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