New coalition to advance health equity with coordinated action

Andis Robeznieks , Senior News Writer

In order to form a more equitable health care system, the AMA and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in collaboration with numerous other partners, have launched Rise to Health: A National Coalition for Equity in Health Care. The initiative aims to create a health care ecosystem where  everyone has the power, circumstances and resources to achieve optimal health.

Achieving optimal health for all

The AMA is confronting inequity at the system and community level to bring health equity to marginalized and minoritized communities in the U.S.

Rise to Health is designed to move individuals and organizations to take coordinated actions to have a strong impact nationally.

“As leaders in medicine, we know that ending systemic racism in health care will help end health inequities for everyone. The unique, cohesive national strategy behind Rise to Health will help make progress in advancing racial justice across health care and eliminating inequities in the health of each one of our patients.” said AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD.

To meaningfully advance its vision, Rise to Health is designed to:

  • Mobilize and equip health care stakeholders with concrete skills and tools.
  • Sustainably change mindsets and narratives within health care. 
  • Influence and fundamentally change policy, payment, education, standards and practices. 

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The Rise to Health Coalition has identified these four critical impact areas for immediate and collective attention and action.

Access: Ensuring that health care services, treatments and technologies are inclusively designed for and equitably accessible to every individual and community.

Workforce: Building and sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and thriving health care workforce equipped to advance racial justice and health equity for patients, communities and staff.

Social and structural drivers of health: Advancing together to leverage our collective strengths, resources, and power to address structural and social drivers of health inequities.

Quality and safety: Redesigning health care systems to reliably deliver equitable, high-quality, and safe care for every single individual and community, with a goal of eliminating unjust differential harms and ultimately improving care for all.

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Inequity is unjust care variation

Previously, during an episode of the AMA “Prioritizing Equity” video series examining how quality and safety can drive equitable health care, IHI President and CEO Kedar Mate, MD, noted that health inequities are “undesired, unjust, historically driven and structured variation in our systems.”

He elaborated on that concept in a column on the IHI website announcing his organization’s collaboration with the AMA on the Rise to Health Coalition.

“Some people may see quality improvement and working on health equity as separate endeavors, but I see it differently,” Dr. Mate wrote in the column. “Improvement methodologies, reliability science, quality improvement methods and safety sciences are designed to identify where variations occur in systems and then to reduce or eliminate them.”

Through specific aligned activities, the Rise to Health Coalition will unite health sectors for greater impact. These sectors include health care organizations, individual physicians and other health professionals, payers, professional societies, and pharmaceutical research and biotech organizations to work collaboratively in prioritizing health equity and addressing systemic inequities.

Examples of effective actions for these stakeholders to take include:

  • Eliminating racist race-based clinical algorithms.
  • Identifying inequities through harm-event reporting.
  • Addressing inequities through quality and safety technologies.
  • Advancing equitable benefits, networks and incentives.
  • Creating access and affordability for therapeutics.

The Rise to Health Coalition strongly encourages anyone to participate, regardless of involvement in the targeted health care sector audiences.

Learn about the AMA Center for Health Equity and the AMA’s strategic plan to embed racial justice and advance health equity

Find out more about the Rise to Health Coalition at the 2023 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago during the Health Equity Open Forum, June 11, 1–4 p.m. CDT. Attendees will learn about opportunities for professional societies and individual physicians to advance health equity.