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The AAMC Accelerating Health Equity, Advancing through Discovery (AHEAD) initiative seeks to identify, evaluate, and disseminate effective and replicable AAMC-member institution practices that improve community health and reduce health inequities.

Learn about AAMC medical research initiatives and publications.

Health Equity Research and Policy

Health equity feature graphic

AAMC submits Comment Letters on Clinical Trial Diversity and Veterans Suicide Research, and Discrimination in Health Care

On August 12, 2019 the AAMC submitted a comment letter to the HHS’ Office of Civil Rights  that called for the withdrawal of its proposed changes to Section 1557 regulations because if the proposal is finalized it would eliminate all protections for transgender Americans as well as some for those with limited English proficiency.  Section 1557 is intended to provide individuals with broad protections, ensuring that “an individual shall not . . . be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under, any health care program or activity that is administered by an Executive Agency or any entity established under this title…“.

On August 6, 2019 the AAMC sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration  on the agency’s request for information regarding the draft guidance Enhancing the Diversity of Clinical Trial Populations-Eligibility Criteria, Enrollment Practices, and Trial Designs. We offered comments regarding ways to broaden clinical trial eligibility requirements, improve clinical trial enrollment and retention, and use community engagement methods to increase patient participation.

On August 5, 2019 the AAMC sent a letter to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)  to inform the development of the National Research Strategy for the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide.  AAMC offered recommendations to improve the ability to identify individual veterans and groups of veterans at greater risk of suicide and to develop public-private collaboration models to foster innovative and effective research.  

Webinar Recording Available-"Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland."

On April 25th, the AAMC hosted a webinar focusing on the effects of diversity in health care among African American men. The webinar featured a discussion with Dr. Owen Garrick, President and CEO of Bridge Clinical Research about his work, “Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland.

New Academic Medicine Commentary! Shifting Academic Health Centers From a Culture of Community Service to Community Engagement and Integration

Historically, academic health centers’ (AHCs) community engagement has been limited, and reliant on students and faculty personally interested in service. This “service orientation” will not meet the new demands of population health, shifts to value-based payment models, research funder requirements for community engagement, and expectations that medical education focus more on the social determinants. Instead, what is needed is a coordinated, enterprise-wide approach to community engagement that views communities as assets and partners who can help AHCs meet these new demands and not as people in need of service. This Commentary details how AHCs can move to “community integration” and the value such an approach will have for communities and the AHC itself. Read the commentary.

Research: Changes in Teaching Hospitals’ Community Benefit Spending After Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

A new analysis published in Academic Medicine shows that major teaching hospitals spent over $3 billion more on community benefit in 2015 than in 2012—an increase of more than 20%. The study also highlights differences in changes to community benefit spending between hospitals in states that chose to expand Medicaid coverage and those that did not.
Access the Study

Community Engagement Toolkit--Social Justice Behind and Beyond the Bars: Criminal Justice Health and Academic Medicine

Social Justice 1

We encourage you to use the Social Justice Behind and Beyond the Bars: Criminal Justice Health and Academic Medicine toolkit to learn about the unique needs and inequities faced by the currently and formerly incarcerated and their families, and what Academic Medicine – across its research, education, clinical and diversity and inclusion missions – is and could be doing to improve the health and well-being for this community.

The 2018 Social Justice Behind and Beyond the Bars: Criminal Justice, Health, and Academic Medicine toolkit features resources, discussion questions, and a series of videos which explore how being currently incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, or having an incarcerated family member affects one’s health and well-being.

For more information and to view other Community Engagement Toolkits, visit

Health Equity Topics


The AAMC Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence (CHARGE) brings together investigators, clinicians, and community partners so that they may learn, share, and improve upon the design, conduct, and implementation of research that aims to eliminate inequities in health and health care.

Health Equity Systems Approach

The nation’s academic medical centers and their public health, community-based, and other partners are working to achieve health equity by improving population and community health and by making health care safer and more accessible, affordable, and equitable.

Contact Health Equity Research and Policy Staff

Philip M. Alberti, PhD
Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy

Karey M. Sutton, PhD
Director, Health Equity Research Workforce 

Funmi Makinde, MPH, CHES
Health Equity Research Analyst

Sarah Piepenbrink
Program Specialist