This Monday, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day—a day in honor of a man who roused the conscience of a nation. When Dr. King preached his message of peace years ago, segregation was common in our country. Some segregated hospitals outright refused to admit African-American individuals. Five decades later, our country continues strengthening the moral compass Martin Luther King Jr. provided—discrimination is outlawed and racism has no place in American life, including hospitals. That doesn’t mean every individual has fully benefitted, even in 2017. Health inequities still exist for many Americans who are often at disproportionately higher risk of being uninsured, lacking access to high-quality, equitable care, and having worse health outcomes. African-Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with AIDS, for instance, while Hispanics are three times more likely to be uninsured. Our nation’s veterans often face mental health challenges, with veterans accounting for 20% of all suicides. A lack of diversity also exists in our boardrooms and C-suites. Having a leadership team that reflects the community it serves is essential to understanding the community’s conditions and ensuring its best care. So there is still important work to do. The AHA is working alongside America’s hospitals and health systems and our national partners in a Call to Action to eliminate these disparities in care, be more inclusive in our hospital and health system leadership teams, and address socioeconomic factors. We’ve launched the #123forEquity Pledge Campaign to accelerate these efforts. While we can be proud of the progress we’ve made and the work that we continue to do, we must stay focused and unified on meeting the whole health needs of all persons in every vulnerable community. As this day of reflection approaches, take a moment to think about the progress you have made but most importantly what you have left to do. After all, as Dr. King once reminded us, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

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