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Building a coordinated approach to community health and health equity

The Health Equity Inventory (HEI) is a coordination tool to help institutions and community organizations communicate about their health equity work and form effective partnerships. The HEI gathers information about health equity-related programs, initiatives, strategies, partnerships, and other activities across institutions’ research, clinical, education, and community engagement missions, and identifies opportunities for alignment and efficiency. The HEI was designed, developed, and tested by academic health systems like yours, using REDCap, a software you already know. It’s a central location where your institution can document health equity work and share the information you want with your community partners so you can take action together for your community’s health.

By and for academic health systems and their partners

Initially developed in 2016, the Health Equity Inventory was developed, redeveloped, improved, and tested by 12 academic health systems, with the input of their community partners. The HEI is designed for an AAMC-member health system or medical school’s university within a single, circumscribed geographic location, such as a city, county, or small region. Stand-alone AAMC-member hospitals can also use the HEI.

Karey M. Sutton, PhD

“You can’t share your Monday.com board or Excel spreadsheet with your community partners. Having a database that was crafted with community partners underscores the collective effort and critical need for tools to share health equity-focused initiatives. We are in this together.”

— Karey M. Sutton, PhD
MedStar Health Research Institute

Get your house in order

Think about all the ways your institution engages with the community beyond medical care. Maybe you conduct community-partnered research or arrange service learning opportunities for your students. If you want to connect with an existing program, or start a new one, how do you know whom to reach out to? Without coordination across the complexity of a large institution, you can end up with redundant programs, misaligned goals, or overburdening some community organizations while missing the opportunity to connect with others. Break down these silos in your own institution that create redundancy and find new efficiencies. The Health Equity Inventory can help you better understand the work you are doing internally, so you can be a better partner to your community.

Wylie Liu, MPH, MPA

“The UCSF team is approaching it as an institution-wide endeavor. We're not just interested in the school of medicine. We're interested in our health system, the schools of pharmacy, dentistry, and nursing, and the graduate division, as well as our research, education, and business practices. We’re looking holistically at the entire institution.”

— Wylie Liu, MPH, MPA 
UCSF Center for Community Engagement, Anchor Institution Mission

Build better partnerships

No matter where you are on your institution’s health equity journey, the HEI can help you strengthen the partnerships you already have and identify new ones. Unlike other database tools that are only for institutions, the HEI has a special dashboard view just for community members. The Health Equity Insights dashboard allows for select information from your Inventory to be available to your community partners in real time. This bidirectional transparency builds trust with community organizations who now have the power to know exactly what’s going on at your institution and how they might like to be involved. Community organizations won't have to wait for your outreach; the Health Equity Insights dashboard allows community organizations to reach out to you!

Tell better stories about your work

When it’s time for the Community Health Needs Assessment or Social Impact Report, where do you get your data? Your community work and its impact aren’t always fully captured by tax forms. Taking a more complete picture of the work underway for your community’s health helps you tell better stories and give quantitative data about the scope and value of that work, so you can communicate that value to your institution’s leaders and your community. This clearer picture of all your health equity work can also help you tell your story for community relations, state and federal advocacy, organizational advancement and fundraising, and even grant applications. Additionally, the AAMC will be able to use aggregate data across all users of the HEI to advocate for academic medicine on the federal level.

Learn and grow together

Connect with other HEI users through a virtual community of practice and office hours. Share your insights from using the tool and learn more about how others are forming new partnerships and communicating the value and scope of their health equity work. When you start using the HEI, you’ll join these organizations that are breaking down silos:

MedStar Health
University of California San Francisco
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Customized for your institution

The AAMC Center for Health Justice will set up the tool to work for you and your institution’s unique structure. We’ll also help you think through the best ways to communicate the value of the HEI to your community and your institution, to get the buy-in needed to use the tool at its full capacity. Once it’s up and running, adding and retrieving data is quick and easy.

Get started with the Health Equity Inventory

If you’re ready to get started, fill out the interest form via the button below. Once you submit your response, we’ll reach out to schedule an introductory call. In that call, we’ll get to know you, your team, and more about your institution’s health equity work to make sure the HEI is the right fit. We’ll provide more information about the HEI and next steps for gathering the data we need to build the tool for you. Questions? Contact us!

Express Interest

Read the Frequently Asked Questions