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Health Care Equity

Significant disparities in life expectancy and other health outcomes persist across the United States. Health care has a significant role to play in achieving health equity. While health care organizations alone do not have the power to improve the multiple determinants of health for all of society, they do have the power to address disparities directly at the point of care, and to influence many of the determinants that create these disparities.

Here are five key components to improve health equity:

  • Make health equity a strategic priority
  • Develop structure and processes to support health equity work
  • Deploy specific strategies to address the multiple determinants of health on which health care organizations can have a direct impact, such as health care services, socioeconomic status, physical environment and healthy behaviors
  • Decrease institutional racism within the organization
  • Develop partnerships with community organizations to improve health and equity.

Wyatt R, Laderman M, Botwinick L, Mate K, Whittington J. Achieving Health Equity: A Guide for Health Care Organizations. IHI White Paper. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2016. (Available at ihi.org)