Health Equity

AMA Health Equity Work Group: 2019 year-end update


In April 2019, with the launch of the AMA Center for Health Equity, a new work group was formed by combining the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Group and Health Equity Group. This new group, the AMA Health Equity Work Group, now works in close coordination with the AMA Center for Health Equity to advance our work in this vital area.

AMA Health Equity Work Group year-end update

Download the complete report about ways AMA continues to improve health equity organizationally and with partners.

The AMA Health Equity Work Group is a cross-departmental team that was formed to define an enterprise-wide vision and focus on initiatives across the American Medical Association’s business and mission units that support the advancement of health equity.

“An equitable workplace provides opportunities for all to contribute their insights and expertise, and lead in an authentic way.” —Sheri Seery and Betsy Shea, co-chairs, Women’s Employee Resource Group

The work group identified common themes in their collective efforts to improve health equity, assessed gaps in the market related to health equity, and identified opportunities for business units to operationalize strategies and tactics to integrate and embed health equity within their units.

  • Normalize conversations around racism as a primary driver of health inequities
  • Organize educational opportunities and events for internal collaboration and engagement around health equity
  • Operationalize health equity work across business units by proliferating tools and resources
  • Convene regularly to promote exchange of ideas related to health equity
Chart from AMA Health Equity Work Group highlighting the group's impact over 2019

Within the organization and with external partners, the AMA is improving health equity. Learn more in the complete health equity report (PDF).

Review these highlights that showcase what is included in the report.

Collage of images from the AMA Health Equity Work Group: 2019 year-end update report

AMA strives to be an organization that is mindful of—and responsive to—the diversity of its employees, members and patient populations. Diversity, inclusion and equity are integral and inherent to the success of AMA's mission.

“Diversity and inclusion embraces giving qualified individuals, who may not look exactly like the majority, the chance for advancement which helps increase job satisfaction and retention and brings new ways of thinking to the organization to foster innovation and creativity.” —Brande Martin and Shawn Agyeman, co-chairs, Black Employee, Advocates and Allies Network (BEAN) Employee Resource Group (ERG)

AMA’s collective efforts to improve health equity helped to inform the creation of the AMA Center for Health Equity (CHE), launched April 2019 in order to facilitate, coordinate, initiate and track AMA health equity activities.

  • The hiring of Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, AMA’s inaugural chief health equity officer and group vice president, earned national coverage in Modern Healthcare, Kaiser Health News and other news outlets.
  • Health equity raked among the top five topics AMA leaders discussed in 2019, drawing significant media attention.

“The diversity of our ERG is reflected in our name, Unidos. Unidos means ‘united’ and our group seeks to unite those who identify as Hispanic and Latina/o/x.” —Daniel Eller, chair, Unidos ERG

Collage of images from the AMA Health Equity Work Group: 2019 year-end update report
  • Sixty-six AMA employees attended a two-day training program provided by the Racial Equity Institute, designed to develop the capacity of participants to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms. The training presented an historical, cultural and structural analysis of racism.
  • AMA departments participated in the Urban Alliance Summer Internship Program, sponsoring three students from minoritized and marginalized communities, providing early employment experiences and putting young people on a path to economic self-sufficiency.

“Diversity, by and large, is a fish solution. Bringing different types of fish to the tank sure is diverse, but it doesn’t create better pond conditions for all the other fish. You need inclusion to hear what specific types of fish need, and then implementing those structural changes—changes to the pond itself—should be the focus of equity-based work” —Jamie Murphy, secretary, Pride ERG

Collage of images from the AMA Health Equity Work Group: 2019 year-end update report
  • In 2019, the AMA launched an Enterprise Social Responsibility (ESR) program with a mission of producing value for the AMA’s strategic work in a way that also produces value for society. Through the ESR program, the AMA sponsored the Rush West Side Walks to Wellness, from July to August 2019 in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood, to encourage healthy physical activity, educate and empower the community, and create a pipeline to health care careers for youth of color.
  • AMA was extremely active during 2019 advocating on health equity, including: Maternal mortality and morbidity; social determinants of health, immigration, LGBTQ policy, protections related to health data, Title X family planning and augmented intelligence; and efforts to support state policies to authorize, reauthorize or maintain Medicaid coverage expansions in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Montana and Utah.
  • AMA collaborated with West Side United (WSU) in the Hypertension Work Group. AMA’s Target: BP™ and M.A.P. BP improvement programs were chosen as the primary intervention to improve BP control on the west side directly impacting WSU’s primary goal to reduce the 16-year life expectancy gap between the Loop and West Side Neighborhoods by 50% by 2030.
  • AMA deepened its collaboration and partnerships with various racially marginalized and minoritized medical associations, including:
    • National Medical Association
    • National Hispanic Medical Association
    • Student National Medical Association
    • Association of American Indian Physicians
    • National Minority Quality Forum

“Equity includes all people facing many different access barriers; that means physical, social, and mental health barriers limiting access for people with physical, injury-related, cognitive/learning, behavioral, vision, hearing, psychological and invisible disabilities.” —Matthew Gilboy and Caiti Maloney, co-chairs, Access ERG

Collage of images from the AMA Health Equity Work Group: 2019 year-end update report
  • Human Resources (HR) embedded diversity/inclusion and equity behaviors into the performance management factors for all employees to support the incorporation of equity from within the AMA
  • HR created the guidelines and process for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), designed to foster networking, support diversity and inclusion, promote community outreach, and bring cultural awareness to the workplace. Six ERGs were announced in 2019 representing:
    • Access—an ERG for people with with varying ability/disability levels that provide resources and ensure AMA is accommodating to all.
    • BEAN—Black Employees, Advocates and Allies Network aim to foster a work environment where Black professionals are included and able to contribute their insights and expertise to further AMA organizational goals.
    • Pride—LGBTQIAA+ employees and allies aim to create a social environment for employees to feel connected to each other, the larger community and the AMA.
    • Unidos—aims to increase engagement, outreach, recruitment, retention, professional development, and advancement among Hispanic and Latinx employees.
    • Veteran’s Community Resource Group—leverage and adopt the best of military culture, competencies, and global experiences to drive mutually beneficial outcomes for the AMA and our veteran community.
    • Women’s Employee Resource Group—a professional resource group for employees who identify as women and their allies who seek to inspire and equip AMA women to invest in their career development and professional growth.

“The Veterans Community Resource Group’s (VCRG) membership is drawn from the ranks of the approximately 1.3 million members of the United States military and those who have a strong affiliation with service. Members are the very essence of diversity, inclusion and selfless service.” —Gretchen Nester, chair, Veterans Community Resource Group