Decrying the violence that has taken a bloodier turn in recent weeks across America, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack earlier this week told health care leaders that hospitals have an important role to play in reducing violence in the communities they serve.

Kicking off the 24th annual Health Forum and AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego on July 17, Pollack said the field has a “responsibility to give voice to the need to address this issue.” He said the AHA will continue to highlight innovative hospital practices designed to help deal with violence in their communities and will support research on ways to reduce violence.

The AHA Board of Trustee believes taking action to help reduce violence “must be a high priority … and we need to sharpen our focus on it even further,” Pollack said.

In remarks a day later at the Leadership Summit, Pollack noted the hospital efforts underway to advance health equity through the AHA’s #123for Equity Pledge campaign. More than 1,200 hospitals so far have signed the pledge.

The campaign calls on hospital and health system leaders to carry out strategies to increase the collection and use of racial, ethnic and language – so-called REAL – and other patient data; expand cultural competency training; and increase diversity in leadership and governance.

“It’s not only the right thing to do,” Pollack said. “It’s the smart thing to do, because no matter what path a hospital and health system travels to the future, equity of care and greater diversity will be critical to their success.”   

The Leadership Summit, held July 17 to 19, brought together health care leaders from across the country to discuss critical issues facing their organizations, and to recognize hospitals that are doing exceptional work as community leaders. The Aug. 5 issue of AHA News will highlight those hospital leaders.

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