More than 1,000 people will convene in Kansas City, Mo., beginning tomorrow to participate in the AHA Accelerating Health Equity Conference. This year’s theme, Driving Change Together, emphasizes the importance of leaders at hospitals, health systems, public health departments and community-based organizations taking a united approach to ensure all individuals have access to and receive quality health care.

Our field has made significant strides in addressing inequities in health and health care — but there’s still more work to do. This gathering, led by the AHA Community Health Improvement (ACHI) network and AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IFDHE), offers an excellent opportunity to share successes and challenges, to learn from each other and recommit to the vital work of improving the health and well-being of everyone in our communities.

I look forward to participating in this year’s conference, which has a terrific lineup of plenary speakers, breakout sessions and immersion experiences. Sessions throughout the conference will cover a range of critical topics, including building and sustaining community partnerships; understanding and meeting individuals’ complex health and social needs; building diverse leadership and governance teams; and creating equitable and inclusive workplaces. Community immersion experiences will take participants into Kansas City neighborhoods to visit local organizations and see community health improvement in action.

The issues we face in health care are so complex that no single hospital or health system — no matter how well resourced or how well organized — can solve them alone. Working with community partners, we can drive change together and accelerate health equity.

Follow conference coverage in AHA Today this week and on AHA’s social media channels. And if you missed it, check out my recent Leadership Dialogue with Lynn Todman, vice president of health equity and community partnership at Corewell Health, on building trust in our communities and advancing health equity.

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