At The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, we are tackling health inequities and structural forms of racism in our patient care, our educational and workforce practices, our research and our communities.
This work is critical to engaging with our local community to overcome our greatest public health needs. We are dedicated to reducing disparities in health outcomes by educating patients, building trust and making health care more accessible.
Leading diversity, equity and inclusion, anti-racism and community efforts
Dr. Chyke Doubeni joined the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center as chief health equity officer July 1, 2022. He also serves in the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center as associate director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. At the Wexner Medical Center, he brings together the diversity, equity and inclusion, anti-racism and civic and community engagement efforts. Under his leadership, we will develop new and enhance existing clinical programs and care delivery mechanisms, as well as community engagement and outreach programs, to equitably improve health outcomes in the communities we serve.
Prioritizing community engagement to advance health equity
We want to ensure that central Ohioans have high-quality health care and better resources to address such social determinants of health as food insecurity, income, housing, education, transportation and access to health care.
To address these factors, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is newly engaging the community and investing in programs. Through our programs and partnerships, we’re working to remove these barriers to health.
In September 2019, the Wexner Medical Center began a partnership with the nation’s seventh-largest food bank, the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, to better connect Ohio State patients who suffer from documented food insecurity to enhanced access to fresh produce and other nutrient-rich foods. Now called the Mid-Ohio Farmacy, this program allows Ohio State staff and providers to screen and refer patients to receive a fresh food “prescription” card with a unique Rx ID. This ID provides patients with weekly access to fresh produce at any of the Mid-Ohio Food Collective’s 12 participating pantries in central Ohio.
Our providers at these locations prescribe the Mid-Ohio Farmacy card:
- Primary Care Thomas Rardin
- Primary Care – Family Medicine at Outpatient Care East
- Total Health and Wellness at East Hospital
- Maternal-Fetal Medicine at McCampbell Outpatient Care and East Hospital
- Diabetes-specific endocrinology clinics
- Primary Care – General Internal Medicine at Outpatient Care East
- Primary Care at Martha Morehouse Outpatient Care
As of March 2022, this program has benefitted more than 1,300 patients who can access area food pantries to obtain healthy fruits and vegetables. Affordable produce is readily available and allows patients to obtain healthier food options without compromising their limited budgets.
The James Mobile Education Kitchen
Chefs and clinicians from The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center distribute food samples and hold cooking and nutrition demonstrations at food pantries and other community locations, such as the Reeb Avenue Center. Learn more about The James Mobile Education Kitchen.
Healthy Community Center
The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center will open the Healthy Community Center in 2023 providing access to a variety of community-centered programs and services to improve the health and wellness of the Near East Side community and its residents.
Temporary housing assistance
The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Housing Program is for patients and their support members who need temporary housing assistance while receiving care at the Wexner Medical Center. We offer accommodations through a hotel partnership designed to relieve the burden of lodging expenses that would be a barrier to successful completion of their care plan. This has been especially critical to support patients and their caregivers in our cancer and transplant service lines who are experiencing either housing insecurity or who live a significant distance from Columbus and do not have the financial resources to afford local hotel accommodations.
Access to Care through Telehealth
Telehealth has proven to be useful in reducing missed appointments among our Medicaid population and in getting more people to participate in mental health and in addiction care, especially for initial appointments. Our challenge is to make this technology available to all our patients. As a participant with the City of Columbus with SmartColumbus, we can provide free, in-home Wi-Fi to many residents in neighborhoods with limited internet access to make telehealth an option for patients in these communities. Learn about other ways The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is increasing access to care for those in underserved areas.
Cancer Health Equity
The Center for Cancer Health Equity (CCHE) at the OSUCCC – James is dedicated to increasing cancer awareness in the community with an emphasis on increasing participation in cancer clinical trials, especially by minority and underserved participants. The goals of the program are to:
- Inform the community about the OSUCCC – James
- Educate the community about cancer prevention, detection and treatment
- Develop relationships in the central Ohio community
- Work with health care providers and educate them about clinical research
- Increase minority enrollment in clinical trials and research studies
Learn more about our efforts in cancer health equity.
Racism is a social determinant of health that is damaging our community, patients, faculty, staff and trainees. Acknowledging this is a foundation for structural and systemic change toward equity in health and well-being. Yet this is only the first step. The next step is action–improving our education, engagement, funding, policies and practices to accelerate this journey. Visit our Anti-Racism Initiatives page to learn how we’re addressing racism in our communities.