AHA Chairman: Equity is a Cause We All Share

August 9, 2017

Last month's AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego provided a great platform for us to look back at the many recent accomplishments in our field and to formally recognize the women and men who helped make them happen. One accomplishment that is a passion point for me is the progress we've made as a field to tackle disparities in care and increase diversity and inclusion in hospital boardrooms. 
 
No one in this country should have their lives cut short due to inequities in care. Far too often, we see the effects of this when we walk into our emergency rooms, visit one of our community clinics, or talk with our physicians. This is why I am proud of the commitment that so many of you have made to the national call to action to eliminate health care disparities.
 
Two years ago, we launched the #123forEquity Pledge Campaign, asking America's hospitals and health systems to agree to provide quality and equitable care to everyone. The field has responded enthusiastically, and to date, 50 state hospital associations and nearly 1,500 hospitals have committed to the cause. We are stepping up the effort, and working to provide more tools and resources to support critical issues of equity and diversity and inclusion.
 
At the Summit, we also announced the recipient of the 2017 Equity of Care Award: Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente has championed the fight against inequities in care for decades, and they were one of the first health care providers in America to racially integrate their hospitals and waiting rooms.
 
I want to personally thank you for your commitment to closing the disparity gap, and I continue to be impressed with the work hospitals across the country are doing on this front. You are helping us provide quality, equitable care to our communities. I know, as a field, we will continue to step up and take the #123forEquity Pledge. We still have work to do. And I know we all look forward to a day when everyone reaches their full potential for health. 
 
Gene Woods, AHA Chairman
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