About the OIHE

A letter from the OIHE Director

Welcome to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Office of Inclusion and Health Equity (OIHE).

I am Arie L. Nettles, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Founding Director for the OIHE.

The office was established in 2011 as joint project between Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Department of Pediatrics. It expanded to Vanderbilt University Hospital (the adult hospital) in in 2016, and medical center-wide in 2018. OIHE is a flagship effort to our VUMC institutional direction: Make Diversity and Inclusion Intentional.

The Name OIHE was strategically developed, as it implies that “All are included; No person is excluded; And everyone at VUMC has a responsibility for health equity.” The intent of OIHE is to appeal to the best in every person by creating a “safe space” where individuals are both seen and heard.

Charged with training over 15,000 faculty, staff and trainees, OIHE’s programs and activities center on four core initiatives:

  1. Education and training
  2. Ongoing evaluation and improvement
  3. Strategic planning and sustainability
  4. Research and evaluation

OIHE provides the VUMC workforce with an extensive curriculum consisting of in-person and online educational training focusing on bias, cultural competency and civil workplace behaviors. Our curriculum is designed to foster a culture of increased inclusion, sensitivity and awareness. More than 7,000 VUMC employees have participated in OIHE facilitated training opportunities.

Based on the success of the VUMC OIHE, our model was used as a blueprint for developing similar offices at peer institutions. The VUMC OIHE was replicated at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2017 and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in 2012.

As we embarked and continue upon this journey, it has and will be about “appealing to the best in each person” with trust and respect. VUMC is the place where everyone has a voice and is heard. Whether one plants flowers or performs transplants, OIHE is provides the education and training that elevates excellence in healthcare across settings. 

Arie L. Nettles, Ph.D., NCSP, HSP

Our initiatives

The OIHE operates according to four main initiatives:

Workforce development
Ensuring that VUMC clinical and nonclinical employees are empowered to provide culturally competent care through education and training. The OIHE offers a curriculum for VUMC employees, free of charge. Some courses provide CECs.

Ongoing evaluation and improvement
Evaluating and improving patient satisfaction through cross-cultural communication.

Expanding inclusion and health equity efforts
Developing and launching plans and programs to improve diversity, inclusion and health equity.

Serving as a research base for identifying and eliminating racial, ethnic and gender-related health disparities.

OIHE in the news