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AMA and others launch collective call for health equity in Rise to Health

"Rise to Health is about making health equity actionable," says Dr. Kedar Mate.

Susan Morse, Executive Editor

Photo: Morsa Images/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Race Forward officially launched Rise to Health, a call to action for providers, payers, pharma and professional societies to make health equity a priority.

Rise to Health will have enforcement teeth in the form of establishing a set of measures across numerous participants.

"That's what we are observing as a critical defining difference," said IHI president and CEO Dr. Kedar Mate. 

Dr. Aletha Maybank, AMA chief health equity officer and senior vice president called it "collective accountability."

"We need data measurement," Maybank said. "There's a whole measurement component, with input from different folks."

Rise to Health: A National Coalition for Equity in Health Care has been in the works for about two years. Its ten founders include the AMA, American Hospital Association and AHIP.

A unified strategy is the most effective way to create meaningful change, said AMA president Dr. Jack Resneck Jr.

"The ultimate goal of this coalition is to combine disparate efforts on health equity," Resneck said.

Prior efforts have been in siloes, said Mate, who has been working with coalition members around the founding principle that healthcare quality is inseparable from health equity. "We cannot have a high quality health system without an equity health system."

The coalition has seen dozens of providers, pharma companies and payers add equity to their strategic plans, Mate said. 

"We also expect to see legislative and payment changes," Mate said. The coalition is already starting to see this from the government and from payers, he said.

Specific actions defined by the coalition include: a commitment to acting for equity, getting grounded in history and the local context, identifying opportunities for improvement, making equity a strategic priority, taking on initiatives, and aligning, investing and advocating for thriving communities.

Race Forward president Glenn Harris said the inequities the coalition is trying to address show up in all aspects of life. Healthcare inequities disproportionately impact people of color, he said.

When healthcare is centered on those most vulnerable, everyone thrives, he said. "We're in a historical moment in this country," Harris said. "We've got to believe we can make change."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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