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Boston Children’s Hospital launches health equity initiative

Boston Children’s Hospital is launching a $20 million institute to study pediatric health disparities and influence health policy.

The Sandra L. Fenwick Institute for Pediatric Health Equity and Inclusion will examine how Boston Children’s can address inequities internally, in how it treats patients and recruits and retains workers. It will also study health inequities nationally and make recommendations on how to end them, hospital officials said Friday.

The institute is named for the hospital’s former chief executive, who retired in March. Sandra Fenwick and her husband, Geoffrey, donated over $2 million toward the initiative to fund a chair position, held by Dr. Valerie L. Ward, the hospital’s chief equity and inclusion office.

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“This issue of true health equity has been under-emphasized, under-studied and under-acted upon,” Fenwick said. “This is a time for us to put this way up high on our agenda.”

“This is an opportunity for Boston Children’s to lead,” she added.

Dr. Kevin Churchwell, the current chief executive, said researchers at the institute will help develop targets for diversifying the hospital’s workforce. They’ll also look at the differences in how patients and families who are white, Black, Hispanic, and Asian perceive the care they receive.

The institute is funded by Boston Children’s and by donations from board members and foundations.


Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.