Health Equity

In crisis, health equity gets overlooked. That must change.

Jennifer Lubell , Contributing News Writer

What’s the news: A new guide from the AMA gives physicians and health care organizations the information, tools and resources they need to design and implement strategies that center equity during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guide and workbook—Embedding Equity in Crisis Preparedness and Response in Health Systems—is structured in four parts and offers recommendations to physicians and health care organizations for implementing and embedding equity in crisis preparedness and response. One section highlights 12 case studies with strategies for incorporating equity in emergency preparedness and response. 

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Another section features an action plan workbook that provides tools and resources to health care systems so that they can incorporate equitable practices into their workflows during times of crisis.

The AMA worked with more than 30 organizations to create this guide, which emphasizes that achieving equity is a continuous process that requires an ongoing strategy and call to action. Download the crisis-preparedness guide now (PDF).

Why it’s important: Like most health emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic had an inequitable impact in historically marginalized communities. Within this guide, the AMA has outlined critical COVID-19 health equity resources to examine the structural issues that contribute to and could exacerbate already existing inequities.

The new guide aims to support physicians and health care organizations embed equity and racial justice during crises by offering lessons grounded in case studies from around the country.

Embedding equity into crisis preparedness and response is an urgent need. Leaders in medicine should be working to improve systems and processes so that they produce more equitable outcomes during current and future crises. 

This involves changing structures and policies, redistributing resources, and valuing the experiences and expertise of people most affected by the issues at hand. It involves recognizing the harmful consequences of the status quo and understanding that inequitable outcomes are produced by design.

Learn more: The inequitable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic extended to physicians from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups, as shown in an AMA survey published in 2022.

Find out how to earn CME with education from the AMA Center for Health Equity, which features content specifically developed to help physicians and health systems address root causes of inequities.