AMA announces effort to advance equitable innovation in health care – American Medical Association

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CHICAGO — Building on its commitment to advance equity in health care innovation, the American Medical Association (AMA) today announced the creation of an external committee of experts dedicated to advising the organization on equitable structures and opportunities in health innovation that would benefit historically marginalized people and communities.

The Equity and Innovation Advisory Group will provide guidance and support for the AMA to ensure equitable innovation in health care, an approach outlined in the AMA’s three-year strategic plan dedicated to embedding racial justice and advancing health equity. The advisors are tasked with providing direction on a shared vision for a U.S. health care innovation sector that: (1) prioritizes resource allocation for meaningful solutions to advance health, racial, and social justice; and (2) ensures that the race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity of innovators and investors mirror that of the nation.

“Convening this advisory group is a major step forward in expanding the AMA’s ongoing work toward equitable innovation in health care,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “Through the combined expertise of physicians and innovators, we can continue to drive the future of medicine by promoting innovation and digital health solutions designed to tackle one of the biggest challenges in health care— improving health for our most marginalized patients and communities.”

Data shows that Black, Latinx, women, LGBTQ+, and other innovators from historically marginalized communities have been drastically under-funded and under-represented in solution design efforts, contributing to a health solution landscape that neglects and often harms these patient populations – exacerbating and perpetuating health inequities. Investing in solutions designed by and for marginalized communities is not just the right thing to do; research indicates that it’s a wise investment. Economic opportunity associated with increased investment in women and minoritized founder–led companies is estimated to be over $4 trillion, while reducing racial health inequities is estimated to generate economic gains of $135 billion per year, according to research from Morgan Stanley and by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Altarum.

The advisory group plans to recommend strategies that will help drive equitable resources to health solutions created by marginalized innovators and include marginalized patients’ voices in health innovation development processes – with a target of ultimately reaching a measurable improvement in health outcomes and reduction of health inequities within marginalized populations.

Comprised of 14 industry leaders with a vast array of expertise at the intersection of health equity and health innovation, the group’s newly announced members include: 

  • Abner Mason – Founder and CEO, ConsejoSano
  • Andrey Ostrovsky, M.D. – Managing Partner, Social Innovation Ventures
  • Chris Gibbons, M.D., M.P.H. – Founder and CEO, The Greystone Group
  • Courtney D. Cogburn, PhD – Associate Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work
  • Ivelyse Andino – CEO and Founder, Radical Health
  • Ivor Braden Horn, M.D., M.P.H. – Director of Health Equity & Product Inclusion, Google
  • Katie Drasser – CEO, RockHealth.org
  • Lisa Fitzpatrick, M.D., M.P.H, M.P.A. – Founder and CEO, Grapevine Health
  • Michael Penn, M.D., PhD – Founding Partner, Health Equity Ventures
  • Monique Smith, M.D., M.S. – Founding Director, Health DesignED, Emory University
  • Nathalie Molina Niño – Managing Director, Known Holdings
  • Sandee Kastrul – President and Co-Founder, i.c.stars
  • Shantanu Nundy, M.D., M.B.A. – Primary Care Physician and Technologist, Accolade Health
  • Urmimala Sarkar, M.D., M.P.H. – Professor of Medicine, University of California San Francisco

“The health innovation sector has incredible potential to advance health equity, but most industry models do not incorporate an equity lens – risking automation, scaling, and exacerbation of health, racial, and social inequities,” said AMA Chief Health Equity Officer Aletha Maybank, M.D., M.P.H. “The external Equity and Innovation Advisory Group exists to hold us accountable in meaningful ways to ensure that historically marginalized communities have equitable access to health innovation design, start-up development, and investment opportunities, as we laid out in AMA’s Strategic Plan to Embed Racial Justice and Advance Equity.”

In addition to advising on embedding racial justice and health equity within AMA’s existing health care innovation work, the group will also bolster efforts on the following equity objectives:

  • Equipping the health care innovation sector to advance equity and justice
  • Centering, integrating, and amplifying historically marginalized and minoritized patients, innovators, and investors in health innovation
  • Engaging in cross-sector collaboration and advocacy efforts

Through research, collaborations, advocacy, and leadership, the AMA believes in supporting system-level solutions and identifying and addressing root causes of inequities while elevating their importance to patients, communities, and stakeholders. The External Equity and Innovation Advisory Group is one example of that commitment created and executed by the AMA’s Center for Health Equity, which works to strengthen, amplify, and sustain the AMA’s work to eliminate health inequities—improving health outcomes and closing inequities gaps—rooted in historical and contemporary injustices and discrimination.

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