The AAMC Center for Health Justice
Everyone has the right to live the healthiest life possible — though this is still not the reality for people in far too many communities.
Giving every community an equitable chance at being healthy means looking beyond medical care alone. There are persistent political, economic, and social inequities and injustices that affect all the sectors that serve our communities and have a disproportionate impact on the health of marginalized communities. These sectors range from education and transportation to urban planning and environmental health. Achieving health justice means digging up the common roots of these injustices — including racism, classism, and misogyny — and making sure our policies are oriented toward equity.
The AAMC Center for Health Justice is a space to come out of our siloes and work together. We cannot achieve health equity by working alone. The AAMC is committed to partnering with other organizations, community leaders, and community members to develop this important effort. We will build true collaborations and an aligned agenda for better health.
We believe that the process — how we work with communities — is just as important as the product that comes out of this work. That is what makes this different. That is what will make a difference. Taken separately, we are diverse sectors and individuals. Working together, we are a movement to improve the health of people and communities everywhere.
What We Do
The Center for Health Justice will collaborate with public health and community-based organizations, government and health care entities, the private sector, community leaders, and community members.
The center will build a case for health justice through research, analysis, and expertise — which will help us build collaborations and drive our efforts to build a better future.
Building a Case:
- Develop tools, institutional policies, and resources that will help organizations work with their communities to create and sustain multisector partnerships.
- Produce original research and analysis to build support for policy and practice changes that will have a systemic impact.
- Continue our work alongside AAMC CHARGE (the Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence), an interprofessional and cross-disciplinary group of health equity scholars and champions from across the United States.
- Convene our multisector expert partner group, which will consist of eight to 12 members from sectors representing the diverse social and political determinants of health (such as education, criminal justice, environmental justice, food justice, and others). This group, which will be paid, will help guide the Center for Health Justice with its priorities and strategy. Members will be a mix of national leaders, local leaders from community-based organizations, and community organizers. Applications will be accepted beginning in fall 2021.
- Provide funding to engage in on-the-ground partnership, evidence-building, and implementation of this multisector group.
Areas of Focus
Over the coming months, the Center for Health Justice will convene a group of multisector experts and conduct public polling, focus groups, and targeted queries to inform the development of the center’s programmatic, research, and policy priorities. More information will be announced in 2022.
Our area of focus will also include:
The Principles of Trustworthiness
Institutions aren’t owed trust. It must be earned in order to equitably partner with communities and achieve health justice. We worked alongside community stakeholders to develop these 10 principles that can serve as the guiding compass on the journey of your institution — whether it’s a hospital, school, public health department, or police department — to demonstrate that it is worthy of community trust.
Maternal Health Equity
Maternal death rates and inequities in the United States are high — and on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women. Academic medicine — the nation’s medical schools, teaching hospitals, faculty physicians, medical researchers, and other health professionals — is in a unique position to contribute to this effort and can lead in establishing the multisector collaborations needed to reverse these trends through policy, research, and action.
Data for Health Equity
Building the evidence base for health justice means evaluating data to guide the decisions that can improve community health. The Center for Health Justice will provide resources that are designed to inform policies for those working to address the vital conditions for health in all communities.
The Center for Health Justice is one component of the AAMC strategic plan to lead the change that will improve the health of people everywhere. Resources and initiatives are already underway across the AAMC to advance health justice:
Improving Clinical and Public Health Outcomes through National Partnerships to Prevent and Control Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease Threats
The AAMC has a cooperative agreement with the CDC to promote vaccine confidence and strengthen the outreach efforts of AAMC-member medical schools, teaching hospitals, and health systems — particularly as they communicate and collaborate with their communities to build trust, promote confidence, and increase COVID-19 vaccination rates. Learn more.
Health Equity Research and Policy
Health and health care inequities are deeply rooted in the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These funding and training opportunities, case studies, best practices, and solutions-focused research initiatives offer a “how-to” guide for moving communities — and the nation — toward health equity. Learn more.
AAMC CHARGE is a health equity community that advances collaborative research, policy, and programmatic solutions to health and health care inequities. Learn more and join AAMC CHARGE.