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AHA Takes On Racial Disparities in Care, Leadership

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 19, 2011

What each hospital would learn from this, over time would be, for example, "your African American population subset has outcomes of X, versus the entire population of Y, and you'd see what might be the gap."

With more intense focus on these three problems, Umbdenstock was asked what he hopes the future holds after these three efforts get off the ground, say, three to five years down the road.

"I hope we can say that we're seeing a narrow gap in the actual care and outcomes for minority populations. We want to see that needle move in the right direction."

The AHA knows that it must improve minority representation in its leadership and cultural competency to improve care for all their patients. Soon, racial and ethnic minorities who now represent one-third of the U.S. population, will no longer be the minority. By 2042, they will represent the majority of patients throughout the country.

The effort is organized by John Bluford, AHA Chairman; Sister Carol Keehan, CEO of the Catholic Health Association; Tom Dolan, president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives; Atul Grover of the Association of American Medical Colleges and Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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2 comments on "AHA Takes On Racial Disparities in Care, Leadership"


Annette Bourbonniere (7/21/2011 at 2:43 PM)
This article shows that the AHA is still unaware of a serious gap – persons with disabilities. While it is important to address racial and ethnic disparities, this group needs to be reminded that persons with disabilities are the third largest market segment in the United States. At this time, physical access to healthcare is seriously lacking and attitudes toward persons with disabilities range from dismissive to overly solicitous, skipping respect and accommodations. Medical schools and nursing schools routinely discriminate against applicants with physical disabilities, making it even more difficult to recognize the importance of this demographic. One possible solution would be for the healthcare industry to stop looking at disability in the medical model and start looking at this population as a market segment. For purposes of patient care, employee safety and equal respect and opportunities for all, this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Annette Bourbonniere www.accessing-ability.com 401-846-1960 Fax: 401-846-1944 Twitter: @AccessInclude

Anonymous (7/19/2011 at 11:07 AM)
Great to see AHA take steps to address health equity with good interventions, which have long been overlooked. Would suggest adding critical steps to also change the leadership demographic. Multicultural leadership will be critical to strategize successful change as opposed to simple change for equity.