AHA launches Health Equity Roadmap, an interactive program for members to build out their equity efforts

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has launched its Health Equity Roadmap, a resource to support hospitals and health systems. 

The road map consists of three parts: an equity transformation assessment, a customized action plan and a virtual community of peers. The resource is meant to meet providers where they are in their equity journey, the organization said in a press release. 

“The bottom line is this: Accelerating efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion is the right thing to do for patients, communities and organizations, and for the entire health care system,” said Rick Pollack, AHA president and CEO, in the announcement. “The Health Equity Roadmap is an important step as we strive to create a just society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health.”

The road map is only currently available to members, for free. They must first take an assessment that serves as a diagnostic tool in determining how they are currently performing in equity efforts, Joy Lewis, AHA senior vice president for health equity strategies, told Fierce Healthcare. The assessment considers six different levers of transformation: culturally appropriate care, inclusive policies, harnessing data, diverse organizational representation, community collaboration and shared accountability. 

After the assessment, members will receive an algorithmically driven profile of where they are on the equity continuum. The AHA has identified five possible positions a member might be in on their journey in each of the transformation categories, ranging from exploring to committing to transforming. Then, members will be given a tailored action plan and access to resources and toolkits that lay out steps to progress from one stage to the next. Though each member will drive the timing of the actions, the next phase and its tasks will only become accessible to them once they have submitted what they have completed thus far to the AHA for review. 

“There’s this kind of checking in and making sure folks are progressing in a way that's meaningful and that makes sense for them,” Lewis said. 

Resources are publicly available in the AHA’s Health Equity Action Library.  

Finally, members participating in the road map will have access to an online community of peers also working through the process. With this forum, the AHA hopes to facilitate support among peers and learn what is working, what isn’t and what additional resources it can provide. 

The AHA recently wrapped up a pilot version of the Health Equity Roadmap with 50 members, Lewis said, which helped refine the tools offered as well as the process itself. Going forward, the organization plans to leverage various channels to advertise the resource, including working with state hospital associations and regional policy boards. It also plans to launch a health equity influencers roundtable where hospital and health system leaders in diversity and inclusion will have the chance to speak to each other about the work and also hear from outside experts, Lewis said. 

Given members have already expressed a strong desire for resources on equity following what many see as a double pandemic—racial injustice and a public health crisis—Lewis expects there to be strong engagement with the road map.  

“We need to do something much more targeted and intentional to eliminate the disparate experiences that some folks are having,” Lewis said.

She also stressed the importance of including communities in co-designing any potential solutions.