WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. ― Yvonne Dixon, director of health equity for Novant Health, was named a Champion of Health by the National Medical Fellowships (NMF). Dixon received the NMF Diversity in Leadership Award at the Champions of Health Awards in Atlanta.
“We are thrilled to see Yvonne recognized for her commitment to health equity,” said Tanya Blackmon, executive vice president and chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer for Novant Health. “Yvonne’s passion and leadership to reduce disparities in healthcare has helped Novant Health deliver on its mission to improve the health of all communities, one person at a time.”
As the director of health equity at Novant Health, Dixon works to identify the gaps in health care by understanding which rural, low-income and racial and ethnic minorities need access and how Novant Health can develop programs that can help close those gaps. Through her role, she is constantly listening, discussing, planning and implementing health equity initiatives that can build relationships and improve health disparities among vulnerable populations.
“Having genuine curiosity and trying to understand someone on their own terms can go a really long way,” Dixon said. “You only find out what’s missing by asking questions, and we’re working to find better ways for our providers to listen and make patients want to have a conversation about their health.”
An example of Dixon’s commitment to equity includes her work on a project to reduce avoidable readmissions among African-American patients. In 2018, Novant Health was named as the first health care system to receive the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Health Equity Award for closing the gap in readmission rates by 50% among black patients with pneumonia.