In June 2018, the AMA Board of Trustees (BOT) appointed "The Health Equity Task Force" presented its Report 33, A-18, “Plan for Continued Progress Toward Health Equity D-180.981" to the AMA BOT. A key recommendation in the report directed the AMA “to develop an organizational unit, e.g., a Center or its equivalent, to facilitate, coordinate, initiate, and track AMA health equity activities.” The report and its recommendations were adopted as AMA policy.
In April of 2019, the Center for Health Equity was launched, with the hiring of the AMA’s first Chief Health Equity Officer.
The Center's vision is a nation where all people live in thriving communities where resources work well, systems are equitable and create no harm, and everyone has the power to achieve optimal health—and all physicians are equipped with the consciousness, tools and resources to confront inequities as well as embed and advance equity within and across all aspects of the health system.
The Center's mission is to strengthen, amplify and sustain the AMA’s work to eliminate health inequities—improving health outcomes and closing disparities gaps—which are rooted in historical and contemporary injustices and discrimination.
To ensure the AMA's work is consistent with equitable practices, the AMA Center for Health Equity has adopted the following values and guiding principles:
- Inclusion & power sharing: AMA honors the participation, leadership and expertise arising from many sources, life experiences and identities, to identify health challenges and develop lasting solutions.
- Accountability: AMA recognizes that our past, present and future actions have implications, and we are committed to making meaningful amends that support transparency and responsiveness when we cause harm.
- Openness & authenticity: AMA believes that when we share and communicate our struggles—and challenge dominant and malignant narratives—we can proceed to accept our truths and collectively heal.
- Social justice & reciprocity: AMA prioritizes equity and believes our futures are bound to the well-being of each other and the land; we believe there is joy and abundance in this work and seek to recognize all contributions.
- Evidence informed & community driven: We are rooted in the wisdom and expertise of communities and the shared learnings demonstrated through available evidence, knowledge and stories.
Through the Center for Health Equity, the AMA has initiated partnerships and investments to improve health equity at the organization and in the broader community. Among the initiatives are:
Truth, Reconciliation, Healing and Transformation Task Force: Following up on policy adopted by the House of Delegates at the June 2021 AMA Special Meeting, the AMA Board of Trustees has appointed a Truth, Reconciliation, Healing and Transformation Task Force. The task force will guide organizational transformation within and beyond the AMA toward restorative justice to promote truth, reconciliation, and healing in medicine and medical education.
Rise to Health Coalition: The Rise to Health Coalition is a national health equity initiative co-led by the American Medical Association, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and other national partners that are on a mission to build, lead, and advance shared solutions and collective actions to transform and strengthen health care. The coalition is open to all to sign up and consists of members from across the health care system, including individual practitioners, health care organizations, payers, pharmaceutical, research and biotech organizations, and professional societies that are committed to taking coordinated actions on issues related to health care access, workforce diversity, social and structural drivers of health, and quality and safety of care.
Release the Pressure campaign: The AMA is partnering with ESSENCE to take on a glaring health inequity in the Black community: high blood pressure. In alignment with the AMA’s commitment to help all American adults meet their blood pressure goals, the Release the Pressure program provides knowledge and tools to encourage Black women to focus on heart health.
Medical Justice in Advocacy fellowship program: In a historic partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Leadership Institute, the inaugural Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship is a collaborative educational initiative empowering physician advocacy to advance health equity for marginalized communities.
West Side United partnership: As part of its continued efforts to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for historically marginalized communities, the AMA is making a $3 million multi-year investment in Chicago’s west side neighborhoods. This investment leverages AMA’s commitment as an anchor mission partner with West Side United (WSU). This investment builds on the AMA’s initial $2 million investment in 2020 to build alliances with organizations, groups and neighborhoods that have experienced historical disinvestment.