A spotlight on recent organizational efforts and partnerships that promote health equity in different ways.

AMA partners with organizations to incorporate equity lens into patient care

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced it is collaborating with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Joint Commission to promote health equity and improve health outcomes in vulnerable populations.

Through the partnership, the organizations have formed the Advancing Equity through Quality and Safety Peer Network, a one-year mentorship and networking pilot program that aims to integrate equity in all aspects of health care delivery and patient care. The network consists of eight participating health systems, including:

  • Atlantic Medical Group/Atlantic Health
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
  • Ochsner Health
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • University of Wisconsin Hospitals & Clinics

“For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed systemic inequities in the quality and safety of the patient care experience—including gaps in interpretation services, telemedicine access, and crisis standards of care,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., in a statement. “Through collaborations like the Peer Network, the AMA continues its work to remove the social and structural factors that interfere with patient-centered care—providing health systems with guidance to inform equitable solutions, dismantle inequities, and improve health outcomes for our patients from historically marginalized communities.”

As part of the program, the health systems will learn strategies to systemically identify and address inequities and follow a framework designed by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to implement a patient-centered approach to deliver equitable care.

BCBS of Massachusetts launches program to support entrepreneurs of color

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Massachusetts announced the launch of the Health Equity Business Accelerator, a program that will provide financial, strategic, and mentorship support to start-up founders of color to help create equitable health care services and solutions.

The program includes a $150,000 investment and nine months of tailored programming with program partners, including The Capital Network and Healthbox.

"This is not a philanthropic act - it's a good investment and business decision," said Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO at Blue Cross, in a statement. "By investing in these diverse start-ups, we're able to help support the growth of businesses that are centering equity in their work and making advances in technology and services that will lead to improved health outcomes."

The program will begin with an initial group of five companies nominated for participation with plans to expand the program after the nine-month pilot.

Organizations form coalition to address health disparities through digital health

The Digital Health for Equitable Health (DHEH) Alliance, a new coalition made up of organization across the health care system, academia, and patient and physician advocacy, aims to address health disparities for low-income, minority, and underserved populations throughout the country through digital health..

The DHEH Alliance aims to advocate for policies and programs striving to improve equitable access to quality health care through initiatives such as digital health, telemedicine, wearables, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Organizations within the coalition share focus areas including improving access to data, access to digital solutions, digital health coverage, access to broadband, diversity in clinical trials of digital health solutions, and digital health literacy.

"DHEH will be a change catalyst that transforms health for Americans in every corner of our nation, and we can do that by collaborating across different sectors and systems, and by leveraging resources to amplify impact and mobilize resources for underserved communities," Tanisha Hill, president of DHEH and U.S. senior medical director, respiratory and digital health medical lead at Teva Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. "Equity isn't just a buzzword, it's a critical movement that will save lives and ensure that, regardless of income, ethnicity or gender, all Americans can access digital technologies that can remove barriers to healthcare management and critical health services. Only by working together, can we make meaningful change in the lives of millions of people, and I encourage others to explore our mission and join us."