AHA Pilots New National Program Pairing Hospitals with Community Partners to Address Health Inequities

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Teams to Participate in Learning Labs and Develop Place-based Solutions


CHICAGO – Studies reveal that ZIP code—even more than genetic code—is a strong predictor of health, well-being and lifespan. In short, where you live influences how long and how well you live. For many communities, a small distance can add up to large health disparities.


Hospitals and health systems are in a unique position to close this health divide. In response, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and its affiliate, the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, with generous support from the Aetna Foundation, are launching the Hospital Community Cooperative (HC²), a national program dedicated to closing gaps in health equity.


“The 2018-19 program is a pilot to help us strengthen our understanding of how to build a meaningful national community of practice for health care organizations that supports the cultivation of strong, sustainable partnerships through local health equity interventions,” said Jay Bhatt, AHA senior vice president and chief medical officer.


While most of the factors that impact our health take place outside of a doctor’s office, hospitals actually have a significant opportunity to serve as a central resource for health within their respective communities,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation and head of Community Health for Aetna, Inc. “We are proud to work with the American Hospital Association and support hospital groups that are devoted to addressing social determinants of health.”


HC² challenges 10 AHA hospital teams around the nation in diverse communities to address one or more #123forEquity pledge goals, which were developed as part of a national call to action to eliminate health disparities, and one or more of the five domains comprising the Aetna Foundation’s Cultivating Healthy Communities program to tackle public health issues.


Each team selected for the 2018-2019 program is comprised of members from an AHA hospital and the community. The yearlong inaugural program will kick off in Chicago from September 26-28, with an intensive three-day Learning Lab, and run through September 2019.


AHA provides stipends to each of the 10 teams and is partnering with three nationally respected firms to provide customized technical assistance to each hospital. A National Advisory Committee consisting of multi-sector health improvement subject matter experts contributes high-level guidance and decision-making support throughout the life of the program. The AHA will complete an evaluation of HC² and report the findings in late 2019.


“HC² aims to help shape the narrative around diversity and health equity by generating a new class of AHA Equity of Care champions, providing models of success for other hospitals and health systems and opening the door for bolder approaches that move resources, policies and practices upstream,” Bhatt said.




Arika Trim, (202) 626-2319, atrim@aha.org

Kathryn Cummings, (312) 422-2623, kcummings@aha.org





About the American Hospital Association

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.


About the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity

The Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, works closely with health services organizations to advance health equity for all and to expand leadership opportunities for ethnic minorities in health management. For more information, visit www.diversityconnection.org.



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