Learn from these leaders to advance equity in your health system


Many physicians and healthcare leaders are eager to help their organization fight health inequities, but knowing how to turn those good intentions into real, effective action can be difficult.

During an AMA STEPS Forward® webinar, Denard Cummings and Rishi Manchanda, MD, MPH, discussed five steps to advancing racial and healthcare equity in your healthcare system and talked about examples of places that have successfully started the journey . Cummings and Dr. Manchanda are co-authors of the “Race and health equity: practical STEPS for health systemswhich is designed to help motivated physicians and healthcare professionals in medium to large healthcare organizations advance health equity.

“It’s not just lip service that will advance health equity. It’s not just about thinking about these things. It’s about doing a thorough, rigorous and sophisticated analysis, including an understanding of systems thinking, including an understanding of data and evidence “on racial inequality,” “and translating that understanding into action,” a said Dr. Manchanda.

He is President and CEO of HealthBegins, a mission-driven company that helps physicians and other healthcare leaders move their organizations upstream to address the social and structural factors that fuel health inequities. health.

Learn about the AMA’s strategic plan to embed racial justice and advance health equity.

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During the webinar, Dr. Manchanda and Cummings highlighted a number of examples across the country where health systems have turned thoughts into action, including one from Cone Health in North Carolina.

In 1963, a federal appeals court mandated the health care system to end racial segregation by creating access to care for black patients and allowing black doctors to have hospital privileges. It was a historic case for the nation, Dr. Manchanda noted.

In 2016, Cone Health issued an apology to the last living plaintiff in the case. The healthcare system has since worked to advance racial equity for its patients and other community members, creating a more open dialogue with the community about the history of racism and the institutional racism that still exists in many areas of health care.

“This is happening in other parts of the country,” Dr. Manchanda said, noting other examples of health systems “driven by data and driven by their mission and, finally, also driven by their connections to organizations.” communities they serve and work”. with, to improve health outcomes.

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The STEPS Forward Toolkit identifies several “forward examples,” including the ones below, of healthcare organizations that have undertaken initiatives to mainstream racial justice and advance health equity.

The ACCURE trial identified and intervened to improve racial equity at five cancer centers across the country, nearly eliminating inequities in treatment and outcomes for black patients with early-stage breast and lung cancer.

Northwell Health created the Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity and leveraged existing departmental structures to help identify health inequities and embed equity into day-to-day functions across the health system. For example, the center is working to improve access for patients with limited English proficiency. In one year, the system provided more than 260,000 language interpretation calls.

NYC Health + Hospitals recently launched the medical eracism initiative, urging it to end the use of two race-based clinical assessments – for kidney function and vaginal birth after caesarean section – to help reduce racial bias in care.

University of Washington Medicine formed a multidisciplinary committee to advance equity in health care in 2016. The following year, the committee published a Health Care Equity Blueprint. In 2019, the committee expanded the use of health care equity dashboards across the system.

“There are many systems across the country that are doing this work and doing some interesting and amazing things,” said Cummings, director of equitable health systems integration at the AMA. “There is an opportunity to learn from them… what they do and how they recognized it and how they implemented it in a way that was successful.”

Start here to help your private practice advance health equity.


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