Perspective: Supporting Our Field on the Journey to Health Equity

When it comes to the state of American health care, we have much to be proud of. At the same time, we must also acknowledge that the benefits of our nation’s health care system have not always been equally accessible to all of our citizens.

That’s why the AHA and our Institute for Diversity and Health Equity this week were excited to announce the launch of our new Health Equity Roadmap.

The product of many months of careful design and a process that invited feedback from the field, the roadmap is a customizable path ahead for hospitals and health systems striving to become more equitable organizations and dismantle structural barriers to health and overall wellbeing.   

Simply put: Now is the time for our field to accelerate efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

The AHA Board of Trustees earlier this year approved updates to the association’s vision and mission statements to more directly reflect the importance of equity in advancing the health of individuals and communities.

It’s the right thing to do for our patients, communities and organizations. And, it’s the right thing to do for our entire health care system.

Studies have shown that racial health inequities can cost hundreds of billions of dollars in lost productivity and premature deaths.

Eliminating health inequities can improve patient engagement; lead to better health outcomes; decrease readmissions; and improve performance in value-based care.

The Health Equity Roadmap builds on the goals established by the National Call to Action to Eliminate Health Care Disparities and AHA’s #123forEquity Pledge.

Hospitals can:

  • Take a self-assessment questionnaire that helps set a baseline for your organization from which to start your health equity journey;
     
  • Create an action plan that works for your organization, and take advantage of our many resources you can use as you move along the equity continuum; and
     
  • Join a virtual community to connect with fellow health care leaders who are on the journey to advancing health equity.

Importantly, the new roadmap is not a one-size-fits-all design. It was created to meet hospitals and health systems where they are on their equity journey.

The starting points may be different for each hospital or health system, but it is never too late to start. Improved patient safety, more equitable business operations and healthier communities are the reward at the end of the path.

Please visit AHA’s website to learn more about how you can take part in the Health Equity Roadmap.

This is an opportunity to change health care for the better for all people and to sustain the change.

The AHA looks forward to continuing to work with hospitals and communities on this incredibly important effort as we strive to create a just society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health.

There is no more important journey we can take together.

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