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AMA Creates Strategic Plan to Address Racial Injustice and Inequality in Health

In June 2018, the American Medical Association’s Annual House of Delegates meeting set out to devise a strategic plan that would “progress toward health equity.” The AMA Center for Health Equity was launched in April 2019, helmed by its first Chief Health Equity Officer, Aletha Maybank, M.D., M.P.H.. It was announced in May 2021 that a “three-year roadmap to plant the initial seeds for action and accountability to embed racial justice and advance health equity for years to come” would be put into action. The endeavor is structured by five strategic approaches: Embed equity and social justice; Build alliances and share power with historically marginalized and minoritized stakeholders; Ensure equity in innovation; Push upstream to address all determinants of health and root causes of inequities; and Foster truth, reconciliation, racial healing, and transformation.

As noted in the report, the AMA “seeks to pivot from ambivalence to urgent action”, acknowledging that “[t]o move forward, we must prioritize and integrate the voices and ideas of people and communities experiencing great injustice and historically excluded, exploited, and deprived of needed resources such as people of color, women, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and those in rural and urban communities alike.” The report begins by addressing the background and history of inequalities and injustices in healthcare, including a non-exhaustive list of those conducted by the AMA, as well as creating a starting point of “definitions, concepts, and frameworks.” The next section of the report shifts to how the organization plans to change and evolve moving forward by recommending specific “theories, levers, and logic for change”, including countering the harmful and negative narratives in health, employing anti-racist work, and implementing intersectional approaches (race AND __). The report then details each of the five strategic approaches to embed racial and social justice in healthcare, before concluding with the AMA’s commitment to ensure accountability and effectiveness.

The AMA recognizes its role as a “national leader” should be leveraged “to lean into its influence and play a more prominent role in the current national reckoning on equity and justice both by using existing assets—relationships, training platforms, programs, advocacy, communication and marketing infrastructure—and creating new assets as levers for change.”

Click here to read full details and download the AMA’s Organizational Strategic Plan to Embed Racial Justice and Advance Health Equity: 2021-2023.

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