Communities are only as strong as the health of their people. The AHA’s work to achieve health equity is central to our vision of a society of healthy communities where all individuals reach their highest potential for health.

The AHA recently recognized hospitals and health systems that are leaders in advancing health equity: the 2017 AHA Equity of Care Award winners.

Their outstanding efforts to end health care disparities and promote diversity offer a model for others in the field. They will receive the awards July 27 at the Health Forum and AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego.

We know from the pool of worthy applicants for the award that there are many strong health equity initiatives taking place across the country.

But we also know we need to do more. The AHA is committed to working with the field to ramp up the efforts underway to provide more equitable care and diversity. It’s why the #123forEquity Pledge campaign is an AHA priority.

The campaign calls on hospital and health system leaders to implement strategies to increase the collection and use of REAL and other patient data; expand cultural competency training; and increase diversity in leadership and governance. Some 1,500 hospitals and health systems so far have signed the pledge and are working to accelerate progress in those three key areas.

Pinpointing why disparities in care are occurring and eliminating them should be a priority in every health care setting. As our Equity of Care award winners illustrate, it takes time, information, resources, leadership from the top, partnering with others in the community and a sustained commitment. But the results measured in quality, patient safety and community trust and health are worth the effort.   

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