The COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased attention to the issue of health care disparities. And it’s clear we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to close the gaps.

We know COVID-19 continues to affect Black, Indigenous and Latinx people at an alarming rate, and many factors contribute. Systemic inequities, such as racism or community disinvestment, lead to inadequate investment in education, safe and affordable housing, and food access, creating an environment that exacerbates the spread of the virus. In addition, communities of color and individuals with lower socio-economic status may have higher rates of certain chronic conditions – such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension – which exacerbate symptoms of COVID-19. They are also more likely to be “essential workers,” people whose jobs must be performed but cannot be done from home, putting them at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19.

We see the natural consequences of health disparities plaguing our communities, and we know we can be a positive and driving agent of change. We can. We must. And we will.

A number of hospitals and health systems are leading the way on these efforts, including three organizations the AHA recently recognized as 2020 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award recipients. Renamed in 2019 in honor of the first African American and first hospital trustee to chair the AHA Board, the award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their efforts to reduce health care disparities and advance diversity and inclusion.

Cone Health in Greensboro, N.C., was this year’s award winner, and Chatham Hospital in Siler City, N.C., and Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System were recognized as honorees. This year’s honorees represent vastly different communities – in terms of size and demographics – but they have all been creative and proactive in using data to connect with all patients to address challenges with access to care and societal factors impacting their health. Watch the video to learn more about the winner and honorees and their efforts to advance equity of care.

These organizations are a testament to what can be accomplished when we commit to this work. A new resource from the AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity provides innovative ideas and proven tools for supporting and advancing health equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. I encourage you to take a look and see how you can begin this important work in your own community.

Applications open today for the 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award. Please consider applying and sharing how your organization is working to reduce health disparities and advance diversity and inclusion.

Related News Articles

Headline
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce congue lorem nisl, ac dapibus dui vestibulum ut. Vivamus egestas at ipsum eget posuere.…
Headline
Moderna Inc. today announced that its mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate against COVID-19 is 94.5% effective, according to early data. The candidate is currently…
Headline
Kaufman Hall recently held a virtual health care leadership conference in which Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, Eugene…
Headline
As of Nov. 6, about 60% of the nation’s retail pharmacies have agreed to participate in a federal program to administer COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to…
Perspective
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” is a quote credited to the French writer and thinker Voltaire. Although he died in 1778, that phrase is very…
Headline
To continue amplifying the important message of protecting against both the flu and COVID-19, AHA’s Wear A Mask and United Against the Flu campaigns today…