American Hospital Association recognizes Atrium Health with 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award

Two Health Systems Recognized as Honorees


WASHINGTON (May 19, 2021) – The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Institute for Diversity and Health Equity today announced that Atrium Health, Charlotte, N.C., will receive the 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care (EOC) Award. Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Mich.; and ChristianaCare, Newark, Del., will be recognized as honorees.

The Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award is an annual recognition of outstanding efforts among hospitals and health care systems to advance equity of care to all patients and to spread lessons learned and progress toward diversity, inclusion and health equity. Lewis was the first African-American and first hospital trustee to chair the AHA Board.

“As places of healing, hospitals have a vital role to play in ensuring all individuals can reach their highest potential for health, regardless of background, zip code or any other factor. The Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award acknowledges the leaders that make diversity, inclusion and equity foundational to their operations,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Atrium Health has confronted disparities in health outcomes with renewed urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic. We congratulate Atrium and the honorees for using rigorous, data-informed strategies to help bring about change that is much-needed and long overdue.”  

Atrium Health, the 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis EOC Award winner, is recognized for its success in applying data and an equity focus to its COVID-19 response. This included testing 25,323 community members for COVID-19 through roving mobile units and leveraging community relationships to partner with 55 sites in underserved neighborhoods with high infection rates. As a result, Atrium closed gaps in testing for Black and Hispanic community members and has used this same data-driven approach to bring thousands of vaccinations to underserved communities as well.

Atrium has transformed the collection of patient data, consistently surpassing a 97% collection rate for race, ethnicity and language preference data, as well as data on sexual orientation and gender identity. Patient response options now include 20 ethnicity and 40 race options, along with a multiple-selection option that allowed Atrium to eliminate “other” as a category. Options also reflect 73 languages. This progress was achieved through the rebuilding and redesigning of its electronic medical record, as well as staff education and internal and external communication strategies.

Improvements in patient data have enabled Atrium Health to identify gaps in clinical outcomes and better target efforts to address them. For example, Atrium scheduled 200 additional colorectal cancer screenings for Hispanic and Latino men who had previously been under-screened. Some revealed major cancers that would have otherwise gone undetected. Atrium also enacted unconscious bias training aimed at reducing gaps in medication administration for Black patients experiencing long bone fracture in the emergency services department.

Highlights of the Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award Honorees

Henry Ford Health System – Detroit, Mich.

Henry Ford Health System launched its “We Ask Because We Care” campaign in 2011 to improve its collection of patient data. In 2020, several system hospitals exceeded a goal to collect race, ethnicity and language preference information from more than 90% of patients. The data has helped Henry Ford better understand patient barriers to better care outcomes, including housing, transportation and food access. More than 79,000 screenings were performed in 2020 to assess and develop a plan to address these societal factors. 

In addition, the first clinic to offer rapid COVID testing in the United States was launched in partnership between Henry Ford and the Detroit Health Department. Through this initiative, Henry Ford administered more than 20,000 tests to first responders and essential workers in Detroit. Henry Ford was the only Michigan health system to have a role in the Moderna vaccine trial, in which 30% of the enrolled participants were people of color. Throughout the pandemic, Henry Ford has prioritized reducing disparities in outcomes in diabetes, hypertension and mortality and morbidity related to COVID-19.

Henry Ford Health System was the Equity of Care Award winner in 2015 and an honoree in 2020 and 2014.

ChristianaCare – Newark, Del.

ChristianaCare has enacted a number of organizational reforms to make health equity as central to their operations as patient safety.

For example, ChristianaCare operates a Community Health Worker program in women’s health, primary care, school based health centers, emergency department and food insecurity programs for patients at high-risk who are Medicaid eligible or uninsured. The program offers a needs assessment, patient support and connections to long-term support. As a result, emergency department visits for patients enrolled in the program decreased and patients reported increasingly positive experiences with the health care system.

ChristianaCare has also worked to reduce disparities in readmissions for post-partum women due to hypertensive emergencies. This was accomplished through provider education, simplifying guidelines, standardization of care and increased patient enrollment in a home-based blood pressure monitoring app. As a result, the postpartum hypertension readmission rate for Black women decreased by more than 45%, and the readmission rate for all patients decreased by 30%.



Contact:        Sean Barry, (202) 626-2306,
                     Marie Johnson, (202) 626-2351

About the American Hospital Association (AHA)
The American Hospital Association (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 advocates on behalf of our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, our clinician partners – including more than 270,000 affiliated physicians, 2 million nurses and other caregivers – and the 43,000 health care leaders who belong to our professional membership groups. 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