It was great to connect with so many colleagues last week at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C. One of my priorities as chair is to keep listening to the priorities of leaders in our field as they support millions of team members who go to work each and every day to deliver healing, health and wellness to communities across our country.

One priority for hospitals and health systems is advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. The AHA’s next gathering, the Accelerating Health Equity Conference, May 10–12 in Cleveland, will focus on that topic.

Led by the AHA Community Health Improvement network and the AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, this conference is an excellent opportunity for individuals and teams charged with improving community and population health, health equity, diversity and inclusion to convene, listen to one another and learn.

The AHA’s recently released Health Equity Roadmap will come to life in Cleveland, as the conference content is organized around the Roadmap’s six Levers of Transformation. Attendees will learn strategies and tactics to put the Roadmap into practice.

I encourage you to check out the conference agenda highlighting keynote speakers and breakout sessions — there’s still time to sign up to participate.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all the forms of inequity, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

During the past two years, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate long-standing health care disparities and inequities. Systemic inequities, such as structural racism and economic disadvantages within diverse communities, continue to prevent individuals and communities from achieving optimal health, thus leading to avoidable differences in health outcomes.

At the same time, the pandemic has elevated the need for hospitals and community-based organizations to connect, collaborate and take action to eliminate the drivers of poor health and advance equitable outcomes for patients, families and communities.

Let’s renew our efforts around diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. We must continue to engage with and invest in our neighborhoods and one another in new and important ways to accelerate health equity.

Wright L. Lassiter III
AHA Chair

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