The evidence is clear that health inequities result from circumstances stemming from socioeconomic status, living conditions and other social, geographical and environmental determinants that are modifiable.
These actions have been made even more urgent by the racial disparities identified early in the COVID-19 pandemic as data show significant disparities in the rate of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death among marginalized populations.
Hospitals and health systems are in a unique position to address health inequities and disparities utilizing different approaches -- from partnering with community groups to better understand the needs of marginalized populations to creating systemic change by acting collaboratively to create the conditions in which all people can thrive.
Now in its second year, the American Hospital Association Center for Health Innovation's Hospital Community Collaborative (HCC) has a proven track record of helping hospitals cultivate strong, sustainable partnerships with community groups and develop and deploy local health equity interventions. AHA is looking for hospitals and health systems to enroll in the 2021 cohort to advance health equity in their communities and build local capacity to improve community health.
"Health care has a long way to go to effectively address health inequity, but there are evidence-based approaches to start tackling--or continue the battle against-- the social factors that put marginalized populations at risk," said Nancy Myers, senior vice president, leadership and system innovation, AHA Center for Health Innovation. "By joining the Hospital Community Collaborative, health care providers can explore and deploy new approaches, both simple and complex, to develop effective community partnerships and make health care accessible for all people."
The new HCC cohort will focus on community-level health disparities caused, exacerbated or illuminated by COVID-19. Participating health care providers and their community partners will receive 24/7 access to vital tools and resources to address social factors that have been putting the health and wellbeing of America's communities at risk.
A new virtual format will offer participants a national, digital learning community where they can go to access vital tools and resources needed to learn from each other and advance health equity. A strategic framework lays the groundwork on how to form hospital-community partnerships, establish and nurture trust, and reduce health inequities at the community level. It is designed to inspire hospitals and community groups and demonstrate how their partnerships are working toward a shared vision, purpose and goal.
This new, multi-year phase of the HCC program is made possible by a grant from the Novartis US Foundation, which aims to strengthen health systems, eliminate barriers to quality health services and address social factors that influence health.
"Health inequity is real and it contributes to poor health and loss lives, a reality that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic," says Patrice Matchaba, President of the Novartis US Foundation. "By tearing down silos and offering critical resources, we can help hospitals and health systems reach outside their four walls to help people live better, fuller lives."
To learn more about the HCC program and register to participate, visit www.aha.org/center/hcc.