Panel Discusses Efforts to Eliminate Disparities in Care
AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack today kicked off the AHA Virtual Executive Forum: Advancing Health Equity and Eliminating Care Disparities by welcoming hospital and health system leaders to the first virtual executive forum.

Pollack underscored the challenges hospitals and health systems face as the nation navigates an unprecedented public health crisis. He also discussed the need for the country to address issues involving social justice stemming from systemic racism and the special role hospitals and health systems play as places of healing and hope within their communities. “We must address racial, ethnic and cultural inequities, including those in health care, that are everyday realities for far too many individuals,” Pollack said. “While progress has been made … we have so much more work to do.”

After opening remarks, Pollack moderated a panel featuring Ninfa Saunders, retired president and CEO of Navicent Health and Nicholas Tejeda, group CEO of The Hospitals of Providence (Tenet Healthcare).

Saunders and Tejeda are both former chairpersons of AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity.

The fireside chat explored the health system leaders’ efforts to prioritize health equity in their organizations, driving value for all patients and the overall health care delivery system.

Both Saunders and Tejeda were honored as the 2020 recipients of the AHA Board of Trustees Award at the beginning of the session for their work in this critical area. See today’s AHA press releases on Saunders and Tejeda being recognized with the honors.

Insights from the Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award Winners
A panel moderated by Coleen Santa Ana, president of Sentara Obici Hospital, recognized the winner and honorees of AHA’s 2020 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award and the organizations’ efforts to achieve a high level of success in advancing diversity, health equity and equitable health care.

The panel included W. Keith Stinson, emergency department director and emergency preparedness coordinator at Chatham Hospital; Laura Vail, director of health equity at Cone Health; and Kimberlydawn Wisdom, senior vice president of community health and equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Henry Ford Health System.

The leaders discussed the strategies and enduring operational changes implemented to make equity a routine way of experiencing health care in their organizations.

Leadership Strategies to Promote Health Equity
Trudy Sullivan Stoudamire, chief communications and diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Health Catalyst, moderated a panel exploring the importance of the CEO-chief diversity officer relationship to support health equity work. Panelists included CommonSpirit Health CEO Lloyd Dean and Rosalyn Carpenter, chief diversity officer and system senior vice president, as well as CHRISTUS Health President and CEO Ernie Sadau and Marcos Pesquera, system vice president, community benefit, health equity, diversity & inclusion.

They discussed how the CEO-CDO relationship has helped their organizations manage the health care disparities highlighted by COVID-19, as well as helped their communities advance conversations about systemic racism and social justice.

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