The AHA envisions a society of healthy communities, where we all reach our highest potential for health. To achieve that vision, we must address racial, ethnic and cultural inequities that are everyday realities for far too many individuals.
African-American women are three to four times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than non-Latino white women. Latino Americans are 65 percent more likely to have diabetes than whites. Sadly, there are many more examples.
Hospitals and health systems are working to close gaps in health equity. We have reduced healthcare-associated infections, decreased avoidable readmissions, and improved outcomes for stroke and heart attack patients. We are working with partners in our communities to address the social determinants of health by ensuring access to healthy food, secure housing and safe neighborhoods while improving education and public transportation.
Critical to all these efforts will be improving diversity and inclusion in the health care workforce, especially within governance and the C-suite. The AHA has a longstanding commitment to these essential efforts.
Twenty-five years ago, the AHA collaborated to create what we now know as the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity to recognize the integral relationship between field diversity and health equity. The Institute has already increased diversity in our leadership, governance and field, and its remarkable work continues.
The AHA will continue to share resources and best practices to achieve health equity, and is currently engaged in many efforts, including:
- National Urban League Alliance: Promotes shared policy solutions to persistent challenges affecting the health of vulnerable communities.
- UnidosUS Alliance: Connects Latino leaders with governance opportunities at AHA hospitals and health systems.
- Better Health for Mothers and Babies: Shares best practices and resources on the full continuum of maternal care – prenatal, in hospital and post-partum.
During this National Minority Health Month, I encourage you all to learn more about the health status of racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. and focus on diversity, inclusion and health equity to advance health across the nation.