The AAMC Center for Health Justice submitted comments on July 2 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to a Request for Information (RFI) on the Methods and Leading Practices for Advancing Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through Government.
In furtherance of Executive Order (EO) 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through Federal Government, the OMB requested input on ways to expand equity-focused methods and approaches across the federal government as agencies develop Equity Action Plans to rectify equity gaps in agency programs, policies, and activities.
In its letter, the AAMC recommended that agencies incorporate strategies for the engagement and retention of diverse stakeholders across the five issue areas identified in the RFI: (i.e., Equity Assessments and Strategies, Barrier and Burden Reduction, Procurement and Contracting, Financial Assistance, Stakeholder and Community Engagement), and throughout all stages of agencies’ equity assessments. Other recommendations focused on specific ways agencies could increase coordination, communication, and engagement with community-based and civil rights organizations, including:
- Develop broad, bidirectional channels of communication to increase proactive engagement with underserved individuals most affected by agency programs through the establishment of community anchors – trusted members from a community to facilitate communication between agencies and community members/partners.
- Use the AAMC Center for Health Justice Principles of Trustworthiness as a resource to facilitate communication with community stakeholders and develop strategies and new approaches to advance equity in agency programs, policies, and activities.
- Establish hyper-local channels to communicate funding opportunities across agencies doing similar work, leveraging community input to increase accessibility to smaller organizations, rural and low-income populations, and other populations (e.g., low literacy, limited English proficiency, disabilities).
- Create a national data collection system that captures race and ethnicity data and other standards for the collection of sociodemographic information pertaining to groups that experience health inequities [refer to Washington Highlights, Oct. 28, 2016].
- Ensure agencies integrate evidence-based mechanisms for the prospective and retrospective review of agency activities to proactively identify and address potential barriers and burdens [refer to Washington Highlights, Nov. 17, 2016].
The AAMC expressed strong support for EO 13985 and the OMB’s effort to assist agencies with the advancement of the government’s vision for an inter-agency equity agenda.