AMA Center for Health Equity

Outside panel to help AMA tackle inequities in health innovation

Andis Robeznieks , Senior News Writer

The AMA’s commitment to advance equity in health care innovation will be guided by an outside panel of physicians and industry experts dedicated to achieving equitable access to health innovation design, start-up development and investment opportunities.

Explore Health Equity

This web series features diverse speakers touching on the impact of existing structural issues and the COVID-19 pandemic on health equity.

The new 14-member AMA External Equity and Innovation Advisory Group has been asked to provide direction on a shared vision for a U.S. health care innovation sector that:

  • Prioritizes resource allocation for meaningful solutions to advance health, racial and social justice.
  • Ensures that the race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity of innovators and investors mirror that of the nation.

“Through the combined expertise of physicians and innovators, we can continue to drive the future of medicine by promoting innovation and digital health solutions designed to tackle one of the biggest challenges in health care—improving health for our most marginalized patients and communities,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD.

The creation of the advisory panel follows the AMA strategic plan to embed racial justice and advance health equity, which calls to ensure equitable structures and opportunities in innovation by embedding racial justice and health equity within existing AMA health care innovation efforts and equipping the health care innovation sector to advance equity and justice.

Black, Latinx/Hispanic, women, LGBTQ+ and other innovators from historically marginalized communities have been drastically underfunded and underrepresented in solution-design efforts.

“The health innovation sector has incredible potential to advance health equity, but most industry models do not incorporate an equity lens—risking automation, scaling and exacerbation of health, racial and social inequities,” said AMA Chief Health Equity Officer Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH.

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Comprised of eight physicians and six other industry leaders with vast expertise at an intersection of health equity and innovation, the group’s newly announced members are:

  • Ivelyse Andino; CEO and founder, Radical Health.
  • Ivor Braden Horn, MD, MPH; director of health equity and product inclusion, Google.
  • Courtney D. Cogburn, PhD; associate professor, Columbia University School of Social Work.
  • Katie Drasser; CEO,
  • Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, MPA; founder and CEO, Grapevine Health.
  • Chris Gibbons, MD, MPH; founder and CEO, the Greystone Group.
  • Sandee Kastrul; president and co-founder, i.c.stars.
  • Abner Mason; founder and CEO, ConsejoSano.
  • Nathalie Molina Niño; managing director, Known Holdings.
  • Shantanu Nundy, MD, MBA; primary care physician and technologist, Accolade Health.
  • Andrey Ostrovsky, MD; managing partner, Social Innovation Ventures.
  • Michael Penn, MD, PhD; founding partner, Health Equity Ventures.
  • Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH; professor of medicine, University of California San Francisco.
  • Monique Smith, MD, MS; founding director, Health DesignED, Emory University.

Panel member Mason heralded the formation of the group on Twitter.

“The AMA is not pursuing health equity in a vacuum,” Mason tweeted. “@DrAlethaMaybank is bringing many stakeholders into the process. That includes people from underserved communities, clinicians and even innovators. There’s no replacement for real input, representation and engagement.”

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Through quarterly meetings and regular communication, the group will inform the AMA’s existing health care innovation work and bolster efforts on other equity objectives.

The formation of the External Equity and Innovation Advisory Group is an example of the AMA’s commitment to supporting system-level solutions and identifying and addressing root causes of inequities while elevating their importance to patients, communities and stakeholders.

The AMA Center for Health Equity is focused on systematically identifying and dismantling the root causes of racism and other forms of structural discrimination that result in the pervasive, preventable and unjust differences in health and outcomes for patients, families and communities.