Health Equity & NHF

Unfortunately, health inequities are a sad reality in the United States health care system. Together with the inheritable blood and bleeding disorders community and partners, NHF is working to create an equitable health care and medical system by communicating and demanding cultural competence from medical professionals throughout the continuum of care. Additionally, NHF is prioritizing the recognition and reversal of decades of systemic barriers that have negatively impacted health outcomes and experiences.  

NHF is committed to health equity through a variety of efforts, including but not limited to the creation of an annual health equity summit; various research fellowships geared toward diverse populations and/or researchers; research designed to aid diverse communities, and more.

Explore this page to learn more about health equity and NHF’s ongoing emphasis on this important issue.

What is health equity?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), health equity is “when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible” – you can read more about the CDC’s definition here.

The CDC goes broader elsewhere, defining health equity as an “action to ensure all population groups living within an area have access to the resources that promote and protect health. The public health infrastructure required for achieving health equity is complex. It should be responsive to current and emerging priorities and capable of providing the foundation for developing, planning, implementing, and evaluating health initiatives.”

Who is impacted by health inequities?

Sadly, many individuals are impacted by health inequities daily. This includes but is not limited to Hispanic patients, Black or African American patients, indigenous patients, immigrant populations, LGBTQIA+ individuals, rural patients, and more.

Studies have shown that implicit bias among medical professionals puts certain patients – such as women or African American patients – at risk for misdiagnosis, ineffective treatments, and compromised care. For many communities impacted by health inequities or inequalities, disparities can be traced to unfortunate legacies of societal inequities both within and separate from the health system.

In addition, federally funded research practices have just recently begun to account for health inequities in the last few decades, since women and people of color weren’t legally required to be included in clinical trials until the early 1990s.

What are the social determinants of health?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the “social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. They include factors like socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care.” Click here to view a helpful graphic that outlines some examples of social determinants of health.

What is NHF doing to build a culture of health that is equitable for all?

In addition to various programs and resources centered around health equity, diversity, and inclusion, NHF is focusing on several principles of health equity including but not limited to: Amplifying the public health issues of sexism, racism, and other forms of bias; working to include the participation of historically underrepresented populations within clinical trials; and supporting legislation that promotes affordable and culturally responsive health care.

How can I raise awareness around health equity issues?

There’s many ways to get involved, including but not limited to:

Diversity as an NHF Employee

NHF recognized that in order to commit to DEI principles while serving the community, an internal commitment must be adhered to as well. That’s why NHF has made an official commitment to DEI principles for its staff and has incorporated the following value statements into our work:

Diversity – We recognize and value diverse experiences of our employees and those we serve. We strive to ensure that our team is reflective of the communities that we serve.

Equity – We recognize inequities exist for marginalized groups and this directly contributes to disparities in access, treatment, and opportunities for those we serve. We strive to create an environment where equity exists, and our communities and employees thrive.  

Inclusion – We recognize the importance of valuing and belonging. We strive to make space for policies, processes, and efforts where our employees and community are valued and included.

Additionally, NHF has guiding DEI principles for employees to rely upon. Click here to read a PDF detailing these principles.

To better help employees understand their diverse experiences and build respect for one another, NHF has also established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that are open to all employees and create safe spaces to exchange shared experiences. Here’s a glimpse into some of NHF’s ERGs:

  • Asian American and Pacific Islanders & Allies
  • Black, African, Afro American, Caribbean & Allies
  • Cooking and Cleaning Group
  • Crafts & Things
  • Get Moving – Peloton, Yoga, & Fitness Group
  • Hispanic, Latino and Allies
  • LGBTQI & Allies
  • Native American & Allies
  • NHF Book Club
  • Parents and Allies
  • People with Disabilities and Caregivers
  • TV Film Group
  • Young Professionals
2022 Health Equity Summit

In June 2022, NHF hosted it’s first-ever Health Equity Summit. The goal of this invite-only conference was to identify barriers to care and access, and thusly outline actionable strategies to address the most important needs within the IBD community.

The conference will deliver a white paper featuring outcomes in late 2022, specifically looking at opportunities of coordinated collaboration.

Click here to learn about the Summit, and its keynote speaker, Dr. Italo M. Brown.

The next Summit is being planned for 2024, with community roudntables set to occur in 2023. Contact Dr. Keri Norris if interested in learning more. Plans for another Summit will be released in early 2023.