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Accelerate Health Equity, new collaborative health initiative launches in Philly

A total of 11 participating organizations are coming together to bring a new approach to health inequity and help improve health outcomes in the region.

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A new multi-year health initiative, Accelerate Health Equity, launched today to produce tangible improvements in health inequities to ultimately achieve measurable, positive health outcome changes in Philadelphia.

The initiative brings together 11 organizations from across the region joining forces to take a new approach to health equity. With a tagline “Working Together for a Healthier Philadelphia,” the partnering organizations are AmeriHealth Caritas, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Independence Blue Cross, Jefferson Health, Main Line Health, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple Health and Trinity Mid-Atlantic. 

“As a City, we are strongest when we work together, which is why we are so pleased to work with these outstanding local organizations to lead the way to building a healthier and more equitable Philadelphia,” said Cheryl Bettigole, M.D, M.P.H, City of Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner. “This collaboration and ability to scale successful pilots will be vital in breaking down systemic inequities and racial disparities that have affected the health and well-being of our communities.” 

Philadelphia has consistently ranked last out of the state’s 67 counties in County Health Rankings based on data analyzing quality of life, health factors, clinical care, social and economic factors. Through this collaboration, a joint commitment will be made to combat systemic racism and barriers to achieve health equity. 

Accelerate Health Equity includes three core components:

  • Launching Pilot Programs: These pilot programs will tie to identified areas that impact health outcomes. 
  • Measuring Progress: A publicly available health equity dashboard based on data provides an in-depth view of 16 health equity challenge areas and will also track the progress of the pilot programs. 
  • Collaborating to Scale: The pilot programs will be evaluated and the information will be disseminated to inform health and service providers and quickly scale successful pilot programs to expand their reach and impact. 

It is hoped that this effort will accelerate the pace of progress, as participating organizations work together to design measurable pilot programs to combat disparities ranging from issues like maternal morbidity and mortality; cancer screen and prevention; neighborhood conditions; reducing the risk of heart disease; and more. 

These specific disparities were chosen after a review of the County Health Rankings and the Community Health Needs Assessment data and neighborhood analyses identified them as the most urgent issues.

“In order to make a substantial impact on the advancement of health equity, we must work collaboratively with the families we serve, community-based organizations, and each other. Accelerate Health Equity will bring the strength and focus of major regional entities to bear on the huge gaps in health outcomes experienced by vulnerable populations,” said Sandra E. Brooks, executive vice president and chief community health equity officer at Jefferson Health.

Initial pilot programs include: Housing Smart from Temple Health, which focuses on housing and support services for people without housing; Closing the Gap, Jefferson Health’s partnership with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, which looks at social determinants of health that impact cardiovascular health outcomes in low-resource communities; Independence Blue Cross’ and AmeriHealth Caritas’ Keystone Connection to Wellness with Project HOME focused on maternal health outcomes; Penn Medicine’s focus on heart attack risk reduction throughout its Penn Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) Risk Reduction Program; and Together For West Philadelphia, an initiative chaired by leaders from Main Line Health and Trinity Mid-Atlantic aimed at maximizing the impact of health equity in West Philadelphia.  

“To address health inequality effectively, organizations must create partnerships that reduce healthcare disparities and ensure that our vulnerable communities receive the best medical care and available social resources,” said Michael Young, President and Chief Executive Officer of Temple University Health System. “Accelerate Health Equity provides a partnership platform for applying innovative concepts to the delivery of healthcare in communities with disproportionately lower access to healthcare resources.”

Community input and partnership will be a critical part of Accelerate Health Equity, with an ultimate goal of improving the health of the communities in the region and serve as a model to help other communities, as well. 

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