Eliminating racism in healthcare is necessary to eliminate disparate health outcomes in our community. Healthcare leaders and advocates from across Louisville have coalesced around eight principles to advance healthcare equity. Formed through a partnership between the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative, Have a Heart Clinic, and the Kentucky Nurses Association, the Healthcare Equity Advisory Committee is now calling on local healthcare organizations to adopt and implement these eight principles into their own organizations.
“At Have a Heart we see every day the toll healthcare disparities take on people.” said Dr. Michael Imburgia, Founder of Have a Heart Clinic and co-chair of the Committee. “These disparities result in shorter, less healthy lives, and loss of trust in the healthcare system. It is our duty to ensure that all individuals regardless of race, receive equitable and high-quality care.”
The eight principles are:
- Confront Racism in Healthcare
- Address Social Risks and Needs
- Collect Race and Ethnicity Data
- Administer Training and Education
- Eliminate Race-Based Medicine
- Foster Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
- Practice Person-Centered Care
- Prioritize High Impact Health Disparities
The Committee detailed these principles as well as examples of implementation in a summary document titled Principles of Advancing Healthcare Equity in Greater Louisville. Included in this document is a letter of support which the Committee is calling upon healthcare organizations in Louisville to sign. The letter commits signees to move towards the implementation of the principles within their organization through steps including developing an action plan, setting goals or outcomes that are measurable, and establishing timelines.
The Committee was formed through an open application process and consists of 25 health equity advocates representing a variety of healthcare stakeholder perspectives including providers, payers, employers, academia, and community organizations. Through a series of meetings from October 2021 to February 2022, the Committee reached consensus on eight principles to advance healthcare equity in Louisville.
“The KHC healthcare equity principles are a guide for developing and sustaining work to achieve excellence in providing healthcare. Many organizations see the need and want to address healthcare inequities but do not know where to start,” said Delanor Manson, CEO of the Kentucky Nurses Association and co-chair of the Committee. “It is by reading and committing to the healthcare equity principles outlined in this document. The next step requires action. It is not simple, but it can make the difference in how life is lived for individuals and families negatively affected by social determinates of health fueled by racism.” Of healthcare organizations, she asked, “Will you do your part and take a stand for our community?”
The principles and letter of support are not intended to be a complete picture of the work that needs to be done by healthcare organizations in Louisville to eliminate racism and health disparities. Rather, the purpose is to bring healthcare organizations in Louisville together around these shared healthcare equity principles and identify healthcare organizations who are committed to advancing healthcare equity in our community.
Signing the letter of support confirms the healthcare organization’s commitment to hold themselves accountable to acknowledge and address their role in perpetuating and remedying health disparities within the Louisville community.
For inquires related to the Healthcare Equity Advisory Committee or the Principles of Advancing Healthcare Equity in Greater Louisville, contact Natalie Middaugh, Director, Programs and Health Strategies at the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative at firstname.lastname@example.org.