Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare
After an extensive national search, Intermountain Healthcare has selected Tiffany Capeles, a nationally recognized diversity leader, to serve as the health system’s first chief equity officer, the system has announced.
With a broad background in healthcare diversity, Capeles will lead Intermountain’s efforts to expand health equity, diversity and inclusion for both caregivers and patients in communities throughout the system’s seven-state footprint.
Intermountain said equity, which encompasses fairness and inclusion, is vital to healing and identified it as one of the system’s core, fundamental values.
In addition to her focus on community inclusion, Capeles will work closely with Intermountain’s office of equity and inclusion to refine caregiver equity strategy. Her role will have a specific focus on the caregiver environments and creating both equity and belonging in the workplace.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
Capeles comes to Intermountain from Christus Health, an international health system based in Texas, where she was the system’s director of health equity, diversity and inclusion. In that role, she led efforts to improve patients’ health outcomes and directed strategy for diversity and inclusion within the system.
Her work at Christus led to the organization receiving numerous national awards, designations and recognition in the area of equity, according to Intermountain.
In 2021, Capeles earned the career achievement award from the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives. She also received the 2019 Tomorrow’s Leaders Award by the Catholic Healthcare Association.
“I’m very excited to join Intermountain to help continue the important work that’s already underway to ensure that all of the communities we serve are getting the best care possible and feel welcomed and included in their experiences with Intermountain,” she said. “We have a wonderful foundation here to build on.”
Before joining Christus Health, Capeles served in multiple roles at Children’s Health in Texas and at Adventist HealthCare in Maryland. She is active in communities she serves, both within healthcare and as a former city commissioner in Texas.
Capeles earned an MBA in finance from Hood College in Maryland and completed her undergraduate studies in healthcare administration at Kent State University in Ohio.
THE LARGER TREND
Equity has increasingly become a focus for both private and governmental healthcare agencies. In March, the American Hospital Association launched what it called the Health Equity Roadmap, a framework meant to provide customized resources and action plans for health systems looking to become more equitable and eliminate structural barriers to health.
The roadmap builds on the goals established by the National Call to Action to Eliminate Health Care Disparities and AHA’s #123forEquity Pledge. Along with the customization, it includes other tools to help guide organizations throughout the process of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
The AHA cited data showing that racial health inequities are associated with substantial annual economic losses nationally, including at least $10 billion in illness-related lost productivity and $200 billion in premature deaths.
According to the organization, eliminating health inequities also can lead to improved patient engagement in their care process and better health outcomes; decreased readmissions; and improved performance in value-based contracts through better care management, among other improvements.
Health equity has been an ongoing focus of the Biden Administration. At the HIMSS22 annual conference in March, government officials stressed the importance of interoperability in helping achieve equitable outcomes.
Data exchange is needed to understand gaps in the system, said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. She said President Joe Biden has made it clear that CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services should do everything they can to break down barriers to care.
ON THE RECORD
“Intermountain is determined to lead the nation in eliminating health disparities and bettering the health of everyone in our communities,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Intermountain Healthcare. “Tiffany’s leadership and her strong record of achieving greater health equity have earned her the respect of our peers in healthcare along with well-deserved national acclaim. From tackling the social determinants of health to advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, we’re excited to have her join our team to continue to address these key elements of care.”
“Tiffany’s informed approach and experience align well with our four pillars as we advance equity for our patients, members, caregivers and communities,” said Mikelle Moore, Intermountain senior vice president and chief community health officer. “She will provide visionary leadership that will continue our focus on equity as a social determinant of health to help people live the healthiest lives possible.”
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