Resources on Health Equity and Value

Equity of Care. Baby using doctor's stethoscope.

Advancing health equity and eliminating health care disparities for all is a key priority for the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity. Unfortunately, far too many racially, ethnically and culturally diverse individuals face barriers and unconscious biases when it comes to their ability to connect with health professionals and hospitals to ensure their safe delivery of care.

Ensuring that essential, high-quality health care services are available in all communities should not be impacted by socioeconomic conditions, background or merely by your ZIP code. We believe hospitals and health systems have a great opportunity to improve the health of individuals and partner with the communities they serve.

The AHA is working hard to achieve health equity by working with the government to improve data collection to guide policy, and by creating tools and resources to help hospitals and health systems improve health equity in the community. Although much work still needs to be done, more health care providers are understanding the value of these efforts and we hope the resources on this page support your journey toward advancing health equity.

COVID-19 Resources and Tools

A Framework for Stratifying Race, Ethnicity and Language (REAL) Data

This guide provides a framework for hospitals and care systems to stratify patient race, ethnicity and language data and use them to identify and address health care disparities. Each hospital or care system can approach stratifying data differently; however, the general framework for the stratification effort is similar. In the guide you will find sample dashboards and outlined steps.

Improving Health Through Data Collection and Use: A Guide for Hospital Leaders

Racial and socioeconomic inequity persists in health care quality. An exploratory interview with three hospital leaders substantiated by a review of the literature reveals that hospitals are collecting race, ethnicity and primary language data about their patients. Leading hospitals are now moving beyond data collection to analyzing and using the data to develop targeted interventions for improving access to care for underserved populations.

Screening for Social Needs: Guiding Care Teams to Engage Patients

Screening for Social Needs: Guiding Care Teams to Engage Patients is a tool to help hospitals and health systems facilitate sensitive conversations with patients about their nonmedical needs that may be a barrier to good health. It is the latest effort by The Value Initiative to promote the field’s work to drive value by lowering cost and improving outcomes.

5 Actions to Promote Health Equity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This resource highlights steps hospitals can and are taking to address disparities that arise during the fight against COVID-19. It includes examples from hospitals that are taking actions to ensure vulnerable populations are receiving equitable care including educating on disease prevention, collecting patient data and leveraging community partnerships.

Social Needs Awareness: A Key to Addressing Health Inequity During COVID-19

This resource examines the impact of the social determinants of health on patients and communities as they battle the COVID-19 outbreak and shares ideas and case examples to help hospitals address ongoing social needs.

Letter Urging HHS to Address COVID-19 Disparities

America’s hospitals and health systems, physicians and nurses urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to mobilize its agencies and use its existing authorities to identify and address disparities in the federal response to COVID-19, including increasing the availability of testing, ensuring access to equitable treatment and disseminating timely, relevant, culturally appropriate and culturally sensitive public health information.

COVID-19: Acknowledging and Addressing Racism and Xenophobia

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to sweep the nation, an additional concern has come to the forefront of conversations in hospitals and health systems: addressing racism and xenophobia. While organizations seek to address the virus itself, individuals from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds face this additional challenge.

Case Studies

Equity of Care Award Winners

The AHA Institute for Diversity and Health Equity has renamed the award to honor the first African American and first hospital trustee to chair the AHA board, who was a tireless advocate for equity of care. “Hospitals and health systems that participate in the Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award process demonstrate a commitment to improving health for all people,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Their work is not only a moral imperative but it’s also the way in which hospitals will be positioned to succeed under population health and value-based care.”

Podcasts

A Hospital and Community Work in Partnership

In this podcast, Darren Henson, AHA’s director at the Institute for Diversity & Health Equity, explores how despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Loyola University Medical Center – serving the Chicago area – remains committed to its partnership with a community-driven, multi-sector coalition. Professor Lena Hatchett, PhD, from Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine, shares how the relationship between the medical center’s physicians and clinical staff with Proviso Health Partners ensures ongoing patient needs.

A Conversation with Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., M.S.

As March ushers in Women's History Month, our new Advancing Health podcast "Black History & Women's History Months: A Conversation with our Board Chair" features an interview with Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., a remarkable leader who was recently recognized on Modern Healthcare Magazine's list of Top 25 Minority Leaders. Listen as she shares insights and stories about the influential people throughout her life who've guided her path to success in this new podcast conversation with Darren Henson, Ph. D., IFDHE director of operations.

Value of Using Collaboration to Advance Health Equity

In part two of this AHA Advancing Health podcast, Jay Bhatt, D.O., AHA senior vice president and chief medical officer, and Maurice Jones, president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, continue their discussion on social determinants of health and how collaborations between hospitals and community development organizations advance health equity.

Using Collaboration to Advance Health Equity

On this AHA Advancing Health podcast, Jay Bhatt, D.O., AHA senior vice president and chief medical officer, and Maurice Jones, president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, discuss social determinants of health and how collaborations between hospitals and community development organizations can advance health equity.

A Closer Look at Health Equity

In this AHA Advancing Health podcast, Duane Reynolds, president and CEO of the AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, and Priya Bathija, vice president of AHA’s The Value Initiative, discuss how health equity is a moral issue that affects the length and quality of people’s lives. They share how hospitals and health system leaders are addressing the social determinants of health and social needs to make care more equitable.

Webinars

AHA Equity of Care Webinar Series Featuring Northwell Health

Equity of Care webinar series that provides demonstrated examples from hospitals and health systems on their efforts to reduce health care disparities and promote diversity and inclusion within their organizations. Jennifer H. Mieres, M.D., senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, Northwell Health and Michael Wright, Ed.D., vice president of diversity and health equity, Northwell Health will share strategies to optimize diversity and health equity and redefine the health care delivery model of the 21st century.

IFDHE Webinar Page

Diversity Dialogue Webinars are one of the most popular programs in which a different nationally-renowned speaker discusses a topic of pressing concern in health care. While enjoying the audio presentation, attendees log in via a computer and view the accompanying slideshow presentation.

Blogs

Perspective: COVID-19 Puts a Spotlight on the Need for Health Equity

The AHA is working hard to achieve health equity by working with the government to improve data collection to guide policy, and by creating tools and resources to help hospitals and health systems improve health equity in the community.

New AHA Resources Spotlight Hospital Efforts to Address COVID

Hospitals and health systems continue to provide care for our most vulnerable communities by addressing social needs, educating on COVID-19 risks and collaborating with community organizations to expand these efforts beyond their walls, writes Elisa Arespacochaga, vice president of AHA’s Physician Alliance and interim executive lead of AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity. This AHA blog shares new AHA resources addressing the social determinants of health and meeting the needs of vulnerable populations during the pandemic.

AHA Leading Efforts to Reduce Disparities in Health Care

In conjunction with Black History Month, Jay Bhatt, D.O., AHA chief medical officer and senior vice president, highlights AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity resources and activities aimed at addressing disparities in health care.

AHA’s IFDHE Receives Grant to Build Capacity and Address Drivers of Health Inequities

In this AHA Stat Blog, Jay Bhatt, D.O., AHA senior vice president and chief medical officer, discusses a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant awarded to AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity.

How Equity Impacts the Patient Experience

Health equity has significant impact on the patient experience, which is an essential tenet of health care value. As part of a four-part series examining how health equity influences health outcomes, finances, and affects the length and quality of our lives — Priya Bathija, vice president of AHA’s The Value Initiative, and Duane Reynolds, president and CEO of the AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, address how equity impacts the patient experience.

News

BCBSIL Grant

The American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IFDHE) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) announced a joint collaboration and one-year grant program to support hospitals in eliminating health care disparities and working toward ensuring individuals in every community receive safe, equitable and high-quality care. Program funding will support efforts that are focused on maternal and child health, pediatric asthma, adult diabetes, breast cancer and geographic disparities, including rural access to care. Thirteen hospitals will have an opportunity to participate in the program.

AHA Recognize 2019 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award

The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Institute for Diversity and Health Equity today announced that Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, Md., will receive the 2019 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care (EOC) Award. The award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their efforts to reduce health care inequities, and advance diversity and inclusion. In addition, Atrium Health, Charlotte, N.C.; Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill.; and Sutter Health, Sacramento, Calif., will be recognized as honorees.

VIDEO

Got about a minute to understand health equity? IFDHE has clear explanations from the experts (1:15)

The concept of health equity and eliminating health care disparities in all communities covers a lot of ground and can be tough to explain. Cultural sensitivities, unconscious biases and language barriers are only a few of the components shaping the core of what health equity reflects. Watch five experts clearly explain the meaning of health equity in just over a minute.