Chicago, Illinois – Meridian Health Plan of Illinois, Inc., a leading provider of government-sponsored managed care services in Illinois, and SIU Medicine, a publicly assisted medical school and clinical practice of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, announced today the impact of the Provider Quality Improvement Initiative grant of $500,000 awarded by Meridian to the institution last September.
The grant is the largest in SIU School of Medicine's Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion's (OEDI) history. It supports OEDI's innovative quality improvement programs, which aim to reduce health disparities and improve outcomes. The funds also support the promotion and development of an effective, efficient, diverse, and inclusive workforce and medical student body to enhance the delivery of culturally competent, person-centered healthcare services.
Since the allocation of funds in September of 2021, SIU School of Medicine launched a new program called Health D.E.P.O.T.S., which stands for Delivering Equity Places Outside Traditional Settings, and in part of the overall health quality initiative, the program has given community members better access to health screenings, services, and information by placing healthcare professionals in popular locations around Springfield.
The OEDI aims to educate, grow, connect, and advance its vast ecosystem, including several affinity groups, research and innovation, and an academic enhancement and medical pipeline, to name a few.
"The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is committed to the implementation of strategies for the School of Medicine that will enhance the diversity of our organization and advance our initiatives for inclusivity and equity. We will focus on equitable access and delivery of healthcare and on the promotion of equitable professional development," said Dr. Jerry Kruse, SIU Medicine CEO and SIU School of Medicine Dean and Provost. "The grant has given us the means to hire strategists to manage this change and drive this transformation. With our partners, we will strive to develop the workforce needed for widespread application of these plans."
"Meridian is committed to supporting SIU's health equity programs to provide access and advocacy for better health for individuals throughout Illinois. Our grant directly supports SIU and its strategic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives," said Sherry Husa, Meridian CEO and Plan President. "We look forward to their continued success and the ongoing impact the funds will have on programs in support of students, faculty, clinical staff, and the diverse communities we collectively serve."
Learn more about the SIU Medicine Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion programs at siumed.edu/diversity.