Background & Directions

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The Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Awards recognize hospitals and health systems that have moved beyond plans to achieve a high level of success in advancing diversity, health equity, and equitable health care through data, leadership, governance, cultural awareness, and partnerships. These efforts have benefits, including improved patient experiences, outcomes of care, high reliability, reduced per capita cost, and improved workforce preparedness.

The American Hospital Association’s vision of a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health, is our commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in health and health care. The #123forEquity pledge asks hospitals and health system leaders to take concrete action to advance progress in the following goal areas:
  • Increasing the collection and use of race, ethnicity and language (REaL) preference data
  • Increasing cultural competency training
  • Increasing diversity in governance and leadership
  • Improving and strengthening community partnerships
The coronavirus pandemic further unmasked the inequities in health and society, raising them to the national consciousness. The data show Black, Indigenous and Hispanic communities are disproportionately affected both in terms of infection rates and mortality. In light of these current realities, 2021 applications for the Equity of Care Award includes highlighting strategies hospitals and health systems are taking to address inequities related to COVID-19 and inequities rooted in various –isms (racism, classism, sexism, etc.). These are in addition to application information included in previous years.
Application Requirements:
1) All applicants must be a member of the American Hospital Association.
2) All applicants must have signed the #123forEquity Pledge.

Hospital Size and Type
The Equity of Care (EOC) Awards Committee recognizes that efforts in the equity of care occurs across a continuum of care settings throughout a diversity of institutions and geographic locations. As such, the committee considers the availability of resources and the quality of effectiveness in relation to hospital size and location. For this reason, it is important to answer questions in the application regarding hospital size and location.
Terms and Definitions to Consider
Diversity is defined as a workforce and patient population composed of varying characteristics including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, language preference, gender identity, sexual orientation, veteran status, physical and mental disabilities, faith or religious groups. 

Health equity, as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.

Leadership is defined as individuals in the hospital or health system at the level of director, vice president, or executive office.  

Governance is defined as the board of directors and its role in relation to accountability, evaluation, policy development, compliance, and implementation.
Factors to Consider
It is important for applications to highlight the following:

  1. The quantifiable impact that your diversity, inclusion, and health equity work has made in your hospital, health care system and in the communities you serve. The review committee values applications that especially highlight outcomes, metrics, descriptions of the results of success, and the impact to equity for patients and communities
  2. Describe how the work in diversity and health equity has been integrated into the organization’s business strategy and plans.
  3. Clearly identify why your organization and community are more equitable because of the work and strategies enacted. 
Please answer the following questions to describe your organization's efforts related to health equity.  Responses to each question are limited to 500 words. You may also submit supplemental materials with your application, such as dashboards and score cards. Brief reports, no longer than two pages, may also be submitted. Please limit supplemental documents to 15 additional pages total. All supplemental materials should be uploaded with your application. All applications MUST be submitted using this online application.                                                  

Submission Deadline:

Please submit your online application and optional supplements by 4 p.m. CT, Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

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