The economic burden associated with health disparities in the U.S. is estimated at $230 billion. Tackling these disparities requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, across systems and disciplines. It means addressing the unique needs of employees, patients and communities, evaluating how they position themselves to succeed in an ever-evolving health care landscape. 

It is also important that we, the AHA, continuously assess our own organizational culture, capacity, knowledge, tools and other resources needed to address health inequities. That is why we are excited to announce that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded the AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IFDHE) funding focused on building capacity to address drivers of health inequities to advance health in America. 

The grant will help IFDHE’s efforts to build the skills of hospitals and health systems seeking to initiate and sustain meaningful community-based organization partnerships – all with the goal of advancing diversity, inclusion and health equity. 

The first phase of the project will assess AHA’s cultural readiness and leadership alignment to advance health equity, diversity and inclusion internally, and across member organizations. The second phase will drive awareness to action. This involves developing a health equity, diversity and inclusion maturity model; a matching health equity organizational assessment tool; and a coaching curriculum to advance participant learning on health equity, community alignment, diversity, and inclusion transformation. 

We will work together with the field to help hospitals and health systems progress along the equity of care maturity model based on learnings from this capacity building.

This RWJF grant is the latest effort of activities in our health equity portfolio. With support from the Aetna Foundation, the Hospital Community Cooperative launched in 2018 as a national program dedicated to closing gaps in health equity, building a community of practice and builds on health equity objectives from AHA’s #123forEquity pledge to move the field toward results. The AHA, with support from IFDHE, looks forward to serving as a trusted and valued partner for hospitals and health systems to advance inclusive cultures, increase diversity in health care C-suites and achieve equity in health and health care in America. 
 

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