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Driven to End Disparities: Kaiser Permanente Presented 2017 Equity of Care Award

September 7, 2017



boy with mom and AHA logo

Kaiser Permanente has been honored with the 2017 American Hospital Association’s Equity of Care Award, a recognition that highlights the organization’s use of data-driven initiatives and electronic health record to target health disparities.

AHA cited Kaiser Permanente’s Hypertension Program Improvement Process as “just one instance of the organization’s targeted improvements,” noting the effort has increased blood pressure control rates among members to almost 90 percent. Kaiser Permanente’s Equitable Care Health Outcomes Program was also highlighted. By implementing clinical and culturally responsive strategies, the nation’s largest integrated health system reduced disparities in hypertension control between African-American and white patients by 71 percent, and increased colorectal cancer screening among Hispanic members by 20 percent over a seven-year period from 2009 to 2016.

“It is deeply rewarding to be recognized for our dedication to creating equitable health outcomes for all of the populations that our accomplished physicians, nurses, clinicians and staff care for, including groups that have been historically marginalized and excluded,” said Ronald L. Copeland, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “We hope Kaiser Permanente’s achievements in this area provide models for similar improvements across the health care industry.”

The AHA’s Equity of Care Award is presented annually to hospitals or care systems that are national leaders in equitable care and that demonstrate a high level of success in reducing health care disparities. Additionally, honorees are recognized for increasing diversity among their organization’s leadership and staff.  Forty-three percent of Kaiser Permanente’s board of directors are people of color, and 36 percent are women.

Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to equity and inclusion has been linked to its mission of improving the health of its members and the communities it serves since its founding more than 70 years ago. The organization fosters a highly diverse and inclusive culture as a cornerstone of its business strategy as it strives to provide high-quality, affordable and equitable health care for its more than 11.8 million members.

“Our mission calls on us to appropriately — and in a high quality way —  take care of all the members that we serve and to improve the health of our communities,” said Pat Courneya, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. “We serve diverse communities. It’s mission critical for us.”

Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina; Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida; and Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove, Illinois, were also recognized as honorees.

“This year’s Equity of Care award winner and honorees offer powerful examples for the rest of the health care field on how to reduce health care disparities and foster diversity and inclusion within their leadership and staff,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Equitable care for all is a goal that hospitals and health systems should strive for each and every day, and these hospitals are helping to lead the way.”

For more information on the winner and honorees, please visit the Institute for Diversity in Health Management website.