Addressing Family Medicine’s Capacity to Improve Health Equity Through Collaboration, Accountability

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

Achieving health equity requires an evaluation of social, economic, environmental, and other factors that impede optimal health for all. Family medicine has long valued an ecological perspective of health, partnering with families and communities. However, both the quantity and degree of continued health disparities requires that family medicine intentionally work toward improvement in health equity. In recognition of this, Family Medicine for America’s Health (FMAHealth) formed a Health Equity Tactic Team (HETT). The team’s charge was to address primary care’s capacity to improve health equity by developing action-oriented approaches accessible to all family physicians. The HETT has produced a number of projects. These include the Starfield II Summit, the focus of which was “Primary Care’s Role in Achieving Health Equity.” Multidisciplinary thought leaders shared their work around health equity, and actionable interventions were developed. These formed the basis of subsequent work by the HETT. This includes the Health Equity Toolkit, designed for a broad interdisciplinary audience of learners to learn to improve care systems, reduce disparities, and improve patient outcomes. The HETT is also building a business case for health equity. This has focused efforts on demonstrating to the private sector an economic argument for health equity. The HETT has formed a close partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP’s) Center for Diversity and Health Equity (CDHE), collaborating on numerous efforts to increase awareness of health equity. The team has also focused on engaging leadership in all eight US national family medicine organizations to participate in its activities and to ensure that health equity remains a top priority in its leadership. Looking ahead, family medicine will be required to continuously engage with government and nongovernment agencies, academic centers, and the private sector to create partnerships to systematically tackle health inequities. .....more

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