Health Equity Starts with Listening

Published on: March 5, 2024
Diana Blankman, Head, Corporate Social Responsibility and Subarna Malakar, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, North America and Global Specialty Care, People & Culture stand next to each other on stage speaking to an engaged audience

We know that for people to live their healthiest lives possible, there must be an ecosystem that provides a continuum of care. Listening to and working with our communities enables us to address the social determinants of health and find real solutions.

Sanofi’s CSR and DEI teams have prioritized engaging communities across the country in listening sessions in order to provide resources that address the specific needs of each community. Here’s a look at the initiatives that are making an impact.

Community Health Equity and Engagement Roundtables (CHEERs)

One of our longest-standing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the U.S., CHEERs is conducted in partnership with the Children’s Health Fund to convene community healthcare, social services and policy members to uncover barriers to care in their community. Outcomes allow for a collective understanding and the opportunity for better health solutions and actions.

A Trenton, New Jersey convening to address gaps in knowledge with the public around government healthcare access programs led to the conceptualization of the Community Cousins, a Research and Collaboration Hub for local advocates to provide individualized support for the public.

While listening to the communities we serve helps identify the most impactful local level solutions, supporting those doing the daily work creates opportunities for action and lasting change.
Diana Blankman

Diana Blankman

Head, Corporate Social Responsibility

Supporting Community Health Workers

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are trusted, frontline public health workers in underserved communities. They are instrumental in providing health education to residents, yet their ability to serve is constrained by a lack of infrastructure that limits their capacity, professional development, and coordination.

Since 2022, Sanofi has partnered with the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) to support the building of a national platform that raises the capacity of CHWs to help improve emergency mobilization (e.g. during a pandemic) and strengthen the ability for coordination between other CHWs across the country.

A Million Conversations to Address the Trust Gap

Trust in the healthcare system remains a critical issue when it comes to improving equitable access to health for Black and ethnic minority groups, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ communities. With many reporting negative healthcare experiences as the reason for low levels of trust. Rebuilding trust takes deliberate listening, learning, and engaging with stakeholders, like community members, healthcare officials and governments, to create and sustain change.

As part of the global A Million Conversations initiative, our teams have met with employees, community members, and local health organization representatives who have experienced discrimination in healthcare to better understand what has led to broken trust and what it will take to rebuild it. Findings from each conversation will help uncover the causes of the “trust gap” in order to provide policy recommendations that can drive systemic change and lead to better healthcare treatment for marginalized communities.

What we’re learning helps to identify areas where we can work with policymakers and governments to overcome barriers to trust, whether through racial bias and equity training for medical professionals, creating and sustaining a more diverse healthcare workforce, or establishing community advisory boards to involve underrepresented communities in decision-making processes.
Subarna Malakar

Subarna Malakar

Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, North America and Global Specialty Care, People & Culture

Trust, Equity & Inclusion Summit

Working within our walls to build a culture of inclusion, we recently hosted Sanofi’s first Trust, Inclusion and Equity (TIE) Summit to bring together a diverse group that included community health workers, local government leaders and DE&I experts to engage and share learnings with employees. During the Summit, we also celebrated our Health Equity Acceleration Awardees, the ten organizations selected for their commitment to dismantling disparities and advocating for health equity in their communities. 

Participants left empowered with a clearer vision of how to help promote health equity and inclusion. The gathering was a culmination of a yearlong effort to bring innovative solutions to healthcare access, outcomes, and levels of trust.

It is through strong community partnerships, active listening, and educated action that the right and sustainable change needed to create better, more equitable access to healthcare will be achieved. Across Sanofi, we are committed to the work that will help transform the landscape of healthcare into one that is truly inclusive and responsive to the diverse needs of all, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances.

Each of our contributions, whether big or small, becomes a building block for a healthier society; our efforts toward building healthier communities are guided by a commitment to empathy, innovation, and a deep understanding that our well-being is interconnected.
Adam Gluck

Adam Gluck

Head, U.S. and Specialty Care Corporate Affairs at Sanofi