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Building the evidence base for health equity includes evaluating data to guide the decisions that help communities thrive. 

Man using digital tablet at night

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the gaps and inadequacies of our current data infrastructure. Often, health information on race and ethnicity is missing or unreliable. There is no standardized way to collect individual (e.g., “I am experiencing homelessness”) or community social risk data (e.g., “My community lacks affordable housing”), let alone share those data across sectors to coordinate, align, and evaluate efforts.

Improving community health requires accurate and relevant data to identify population health inequities, develop locally relevant interventions, and track progress toward health equity.

The AAMC Center for Health Justice is committed to ensuring that the United States has the data it needs to achieve health equity. We will do this by:

Developing Tools

The Health Equity Inventory tool was originally developed as part of an effort funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is designed to help teaching hospitals coordinate and evaluate their community health work across research, clinical, education, and community engagement efforts.

The AAMC Center for Health Justice, in partnership with the REDcap team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will launch a two-year effort to develop and pilot a cloud-based version of the Health Equity Inventory with enhanced reporting, data-sharing capabilities, and greater applicability to sectors beyond medicine. The locations for the pilot programs will be announced in late 2021.

Health Equity Inventory

Making the Case

Data for Health Equity: The Foundation for Creating Healthier Communities

This virtual briefing for Congress highlighted on July 21, 2021, how all sectors in the health ecosystem — including public health, medicine, housing, and transportation — have similar data needs for demographics, individual-level social needs, and community-level social determinants of health.

It also illustrated the Center for Health Justice’s other advocacy, service, and research efforts to advance data for health equity.

AAMC CHARGE “Just in Time” Webinar: “Hospital Contributions to Community Health Equity”

The Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity proposed a measure to assess hospitals’ contributions to community health and equity. This measure, developed with IBM Watson Health, was included in the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list in 2021.

On Sept. 28, 2020, AAMC CHARGE (the Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence) discussed and offered feedback on the draft measure during a “Just in Time” webinar with representatives from Johns Hopkins University.