Taking Action Toward Health Equity
The core tenet of palliative care is to see each patient as an individual, with unique sources of pain and sources of strength, and unique goals in the context of health care. What better foundational principles could there be for addressing systemic racism and bias in the delivery of care to patients with serious illness?
Change is not going to happen unless we work for it. At CAPC we recognize that the path to health equity has many hurdles. Our field’s remarkable history of rapid social change to bring palliative care to patients with serious illness nationwide, however, gives me hope. Through passion, determination, and strategic leadership, I feel certain we will be leaders and partners in the U.S. movement toward health equity. My promise is that we at CAPC will do what we have always done—find the models that work, find the arguments that help you make the case, and build the tools that make the work easier.
And we have already begun. With the launch of CAPC’s initiative Project Equity, we are synthesizing strategies to address inequity, starting with Black patients and their families. We will also build technical assistance to address the disparities that traditionally marginalized communities experience when living with serious illness.
We are proud to announce that CAPC has designed a new department devoted to health equity that will drive the effectiveness of this critical work. The department is led by Brittany Chambers, MPH, MCHES, and supported by an Advisory Committee of twelve outstanding health care leaders who are experts in health equity.
In addition, we have added four key areas of health equity action to CAPC’s strategic plan:
- Addressing gaps in access to specialty palliative care for historically excluded or oppressed patient populations
- Equipping clinicians to be aware of, and address, disparities in their clinical practice
- Using market research to develop public and professional awareness strategies that promote equity in the care of patients with serious illness
- Providing a national platform for palliative care leaders of color
This activity has already led to noteworthy progress, including the following highlights:
- Equitable Access to Quality Palliative Care for Black Patients: A National Scan of Challenges and Opportunities
- Toolkit | Achieving Health Equity
- COVID-19 Response Resources Hub | Health Equity
- Palliative In Practice Blog Series | Health Equity
- On-Demand Webinar Series | Addressing Health Disparities
Systemic racism and injustice are deeply embedded in our society. While we recognize that many organizations exist with the explicit goal of achieving health equity, CAPC is committed to being part of this movement through our programs, platforms, and national community. We promise to work with our staff, membership, funders, and partners to voice our values and leverage our influence to make positive change toward health equity.
As CAPC CEO, I hope you will join us in this work. Together, I am confident we can make meaningful progress toward equitable care for all people living with serious illness.
Brynn Bowman, MPA
Chief Executive Officer