AMA-led collaboration launches equity and quality mentoring program

The American Medical Association, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Joint Commission are joining forces in a pilot program to help health systems integrate equity into care, the groups said Thursday.

The annual mentoring and networking initiative, Promoting Equity Through the Quality and Safety Peer Network, is designed to improve the health outcomes of marginalized patient groups and work towards racial equity for staff and surrounding communities. Experts will work with health systems to remove social and structural barriers to patient-centered care.

The first group will include the Atlantic Medical Group, Oxner Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.

“Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed systemic inequalities in the quality and safety of patient care, including gaps in interpretation services, access to telemedicine and anti-crisis standards of care,” AMA President Dr. Gerald Harmon. says in a press release.

According to the 2021 Current Infectious Disease Reports study, patients of color experience significantly higher rates of hospital-acquired infections and associated deaths than non-Hispanic white patients.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Health Improvement Institute, based in Boston, have created the foundation for a program that will include a structural analysis of racism, individual and group learning opportunities with a panel of experts.

Health professionals will participate in teleconferences on racial equity and determinants of health, collaborative problem solving with other health systems. The pilot also includes periods of asynchronous learning and action where teams actively apply strategies and best practices to their day-to-day work.

As part of the AMA’s three-year strategic plan to advance health equity, the organization hopes to develop a roster of leaders capable of reshaping health care systems to be more equitable and reliable in supporting anti-racist structures.

“Every patient deserves the right to safe and equitable healthcare,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, President and CEO of the Joint Commission, in a press release. “All healthcare organizations have a responsibility to identify and address the differences faced by their unique patient populations.”

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