AAMC President and CEO Presents at White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD spoke at a meeting of the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force on July 30 on how the United States can prepare for future public health crises to ensure equitable access to care. Dr Skorton outlined four priorities: building trust through community engagement and collaboration, tackling racism and diversifying the health workforce, improving data on health equity, and increasing access to care through telehealth.

He also highlighted several AAMC resources, including a comprehensive letter submitted to the Senate Committees on Health, Education, Work and Pensions (HELP) and the House Energy and Commerce Committees. municipalities with recommendations on the fight against future pandemics. [refer to Washington Highlights, July 1], as well as an article by AAMC’s Senior Director for Health Equity Research and Policy, Philip Alberti, PhD, titled “Equitable Pandemic Preparedness and Rapid Response: Lessons from COVID-19 for the ‘equity in health in the event of a pandemic’.

In his presentation, Dr Skorton noted: “As we have seen, new therapies and vaccines cannot be effective until health experts are viewed as trustworthy by a significant proportion of people. This unreliability affects health and well-being. , especially among marginalized and disproportionately affected communities. ”He encouraged the working group to consider a set of 10 principles of reliability, produced by the new AAMC Center for Health Justice, that any organization can use. to demonstrate its reliability in any community.

Dr Skorton added that “the lack of confidence is undoubtedly linked to our country’s long history of systemic racism”. Referring to an article co-authored by AAMC’s Senior Director for Health Equity Partnerships and Programs, Malika Fair, MD, titled “Addressing Racial Inequities in Medicine,” he noted that there are many factors contributing to racial and ethnic inequalities in health, including the social determinants of health and the diversity of the workforce.

Dr Skorton also spoke of the AAMC’s strategic plan and its efforts to “increase the diversity of applicants and enrollees in medical schools, which requires encouraging young people to consider a career in medicine from an early age.” “. He recognized the Title VII Diversity Pathway programs of the Health Resources and Services Administration as a success story.

Regarding data for health equity, Dr Skorton said that “we need a national, standardized, comprehensive and systematic collection of socio-demographic data for people and communities, supported by resources, incentives and support. community engagement to ensure validity and data collection ”. He also noted that “this should include disaggregated data on race and ethnicity, data on social risks for individuals and data on social determinants for communities”.

Finally, Dr Skorton said that throughout the pandemic, telehealth has been an essential tool for accessing clinical care, but he highlighted many challenges with adoption. He said: “To provide equitable access to necessary care for all patients, it is essential that current telehealth waivers be extended beyond the period of the public health emergency, especially those that allow patients to receive telehealth services anywhere, including their homes, and authorize payment for audio-only services.

In response to a question from the task force, Dr Skorton acknowledged the stigma of mental health counseling in medicine and praised Dr Lorna Breen’s Healthcare Provider Protection Act (S.610 , HR 1677), which would help create programs to address burnout and mental health of our providers.

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