At Memorial Hermann Health System, our 29,000 employees and 6,200 affiliated physicians share a vision to create healthier communities, now and for generations to come. As part of our commitment to realizing this vision, we have advanced our efforts around equity, diversity and inclusion; expanded our work in the community and refocused on reducing our system’s impact on the environment. What follows is a brief summary of our current efforts in those areas.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace and Beyond

At Memorial Hermann, we’re committed to building a culture of inclusion. Through our Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) initiatives, we have taken a “total system” approach, requiring the pulling of both behavioral and structural levers. In March 2022, Memorial Hermann appointed Dr. Toi Harris as Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer to build on Memorial Hermann’s existing EDI initiatives by identifying and championing future opportunities to ensure that EDI will be the driving force behind every decision made and every action taken at Memorial Hermann. In addition, Memorial Hermann has established an EDI Executive Council that is sponsored by Memorial Hermann President and Chief Executive Officer David Callender, MD, and chaired by Memorial Hermann Chief Administrative and Legal Officer Deborah Gordon. The EDI Executive Council provides advocacy and oversight for Memorial Hermann’s EDI initiatives and programs while establishing the EDI roadmap for the entire system.

Reporting to the EDI Executive Council is a Leadership Council tasked with overseeing three EDI Councils we have established to develop and implement our EDI efforts throughout our organization and our community:

  • The Employer Council oversees internal employee diversity and inclusion programs and Employee Resource Groups. The council provides guidance and input on diversity issues in the workplace.
  • The Health System Council provides leadership in programs and initiatives to eliminate health inequity, while providing guidance and input on diversity issues impacting patient experience.
  • The Community Council oversees diversity, including outreach programs and events and EDI programs targeted to patients and vendor/supplier relationships.

Through our EDI efforts, we are working to advance equity, diversity and inclusion both within our walls and throughout our community. In March 2022, Memorial Hermann appointed Dr. Toi Harris as Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer to build on Memorial Hermann’s existing EDI initiatives by identifying and championing future opportunities to ensure that EDI will be the driving force behind every decision made and every action taken at Memorial Hermann. We firmly believe that it is only by hearing every voice can we achieve our vision of creating healthier communities, now and for generations to come.

Improving the Health of the Community

To advance our vision of creating healthier communities, we first must recognize that the health of our community cannot change by focusing on health care alone. There are social and economic factors that can pose barriers to health. That’s why we are expanding our focus beyond hospital and clinic walls to address the social determinants of health by aligning our efforts around four key pillars:

  • Access to Care
  • Emotional Well-being
  • Food as Health
  • Exercise is Medicine

Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation

Every three years, Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment to collect data and analysis for Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery and Brazoria counties, which comprise the majority of Memorial Hermann discharges. Based on these studies, Memorial Hermann works with other health care providers, government agencies, business leaders and community stakeholders to ensure area residents have access to the services they need to improve their quality of life and the overall health of the community. Through Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation, we are employing a collective set of strategies to develop efforts targeted at improving the health of the underinsured and uninsured in our community, such as:

  • Community Resource Centers
  • Neighborhood Health Centers
  • Inpatient and ER Navigation
  • School-based Health Centers
  • 24-hour Nurse Triage Line
  • Pharmacy Services and Education
  • Psychiatric Social Worker
  • Direct Primary Care Partnership
  • Intensive Outpatient Case Management for Complex Patients
  • Free Primary Care for Eligible Patients
  • Multi-visit Patient Efforts & Education Strategies

Anchoring Investment in the Community 

Hospitals have a long tradition of serving as Anchor Institutions within their communities, providing not only health care, but contracting with local businesses to purchase goods and services for building facilities and strengthening local businesses. Memorial Hermann proudly serves as a member of the Healthcare Anchor Network. As an Anchor Institute, we are working to leverage and align our resources to create meaningful change in Houston neighborhoods. We recognize that our investments don’t always have to be of a clinical nature to improve the health of the neighborhoods we serve.

As we strive to close economic, racial and health disparity gaps, we’re focusing on four key areas:

  • Hiring
  • Impact investing
  • Purchasing
  • Mobilizing Memorial Hermann’s 29,000 employees for volunteer opportunities

When Anchor Institutions such as health systems like ours partner with public health agencies, civic groups, businesses and other key stakeholders in the community, we can empower and revitalize the community from the inside—improving community health and well-being by concentrating resources to impact how people live, work and play.

Protecting and Improving the Environment

We only have one planet. The health and well-being of life on earth is intertwined with societal and ecological systems on which we all depend. To help ensure that people can live healthier lives, all organizations must reexamine how they operate on a day-to-day basis. In the health care industry, we not only must take care of our patients and the health of our community, but we must take care of the environment as well.

At Memorial Hermann, we recognize that health care organizations must serve as catalysts in transitioning our industry and society to a more sustainable model because environmental sustainability goes hand in hand with enhancing public health. We cannot improve health without protecting and addressing ecological factors that underpin the health, safety and happiness of all communities.

That’s why we’re striving to construct and operate our facilities in line with sustainable practices and redesigning our health care processes to be more sustainable as well. By encouraging our various departments and divisions to explore ways to help reduce our carbon footprint, energy consumption and emissions while finding new ways to recycle more materials, we can move closer to sustainability. Here’s a look at what we’re already doing today.

Building and Operating Sustainable Facilities

Sustainability is a guiding principle for our teams involved in the planning, design, construction and operations of our facilities. From cooling and lighting systems designed to reduce energy use to optimizing for natural building materials whenever possible to standardizing facilities for maximum efficiency in operation and maintenance, we strive to utilize the latest technical and industry expertise to further our goals in building and operating environmentally friendly facilities.

Energy Star's Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award. For superior energy efficiency achievements in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, Memorial Hermann received the Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Award, the highest honor among Energy Star awards. Because of Memorial Hermann’s continued leadership in protecting the environment, Memorial Hermann has been recognized as an Energy Star Partner of the Year for 10 years; eight of those years, Memorial Hermann was recognized for Sustained Excellence.

Energy Star Certification. In 2022, Memorial Hermann achieved the Energy Star Label (“certification”) for nine hospitals that met stringent standards for reducing electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital was certified at Energy Star 100, while two other Memorial Hermann hospitals are at Energy Star 99. Ten medical office buildings are pending final peer review certification for Energy Star Label recognition. Over the years, Memorial Hermann has been awarded Energy Star recognition (for energy efficiency in the top 25% of peers) on 92 different occasions for 10 separate hospitals and on 12 different occasions for five separate medical office buildings. In 2021, approximately 22% of the nation’s 46 Energy Star-rated hospitals were Memorial Hermann facilities.

ASHE Energy to Care Award. The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE), the largest association dedicated to optimizing health care environments, has recognized Memorial Hermann for its environmental and sustainability leadership via its Energy to Care award on 55 occasions as a result of energy use reduction across Memorial Hermann’s hospitals and medical office buildings.

Reducing Emissions and Investing in Renewable Energy

Guided by the growing importance of operating in ways that are environmentally sustainable, Memorial Hermann continues to explore and adopt environmentally friendly measures in day-to-day operations. From shifting part of our energy mix to renewable sources to recycling more of our operational and construction waste, to reusing and refreshing computers and business equipment to converting paper forms to online digital formats, from improving access to virtual care to increasing work-from-home options for non-clinical staff, we continue to make progress on our sustainability journey. Here’s a look at some of our latest achievements.

  • Recognized by the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star program as a leader in reduction of greenhouse gases due to our energy management program.
  • Reduced natural gas consumption by more than 56% across the system as a result of tuning up HVAC systems and eliminating oversized inefficient heating boiler systems, which has resulted in a reduction of emissions (NOx, CO2) and other environmental pollutants to the atmosphere.
  • Committed Memorial Hermann medical office buildings to achieving sustainability by retrofitting building common areas and garages to LED lighting, funding capital projects to replace inefficient chillers, launching tenant initiatives to reduce consumption, making adjustment to thermostats in unoccupied spaces and a starting energy use reduction programs.
  • Reduced Memorial Hermann’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 13.7%, or more than 8,959 metric tons (Metric Tons CO2e) when adjusted for the additional square footage as compared to the system’s base year.
  • Created Memorial Hermann’s Dynamic Diversion Program to collaborate with Waste Management, Inc., on a recycling program, preventing greenhouse gases, reducing the system’s carbon footprint while improving water and air quality. To date, Memorial Hermann has recycled 1,267 tons of material.
  • Reduced the number of printed patient forms from 8,000 in 2017 to 2,200 in 2021.
  • Purchasing over 20,100 megawatt-hours of Texas Wind/Solar ‘Renewable’ electricity annually.
  • Managing a tree farm in Katy, consisting of 3,000 loblolly pine seedlings in a 14-acre tract that will absorb up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
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