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AHA Recognizes Three Hospitals & Health Systems With The 2024 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award

The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IFDHE) announced that Main Line Health in Radnor, Pa., Augusta Health in Fishersville, Va., and AnMed in Anderson, S.C., will receive the 2024 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care (EOC) Award. The awards will be presented during the AHA’s Leadership Summit in San Diego, July 21-23.

The Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award is an annual recognition of outstanding efforts among hospitals and health systems to advance equity of care to all patients and to spread lessons learned and progress toward diversity, inclusion and health equity. Lewis was the first African-American and first hospital trustee to chair the AHA Board.

“The AHA’s Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their dedication and work in reducing health disparities and other inequities within their communities,” said Rick Pollack, AHA’s President and CEO. “This year’s honorees have shown exemplary commitment to understanding and improving the lives of their patients, communities and employees and serve as important models to the entire hospital field.”

2024 Equity of Care Award, Transforming Winner — Recognizes a hospital system that is implementing strategies to influence equity in the surrounding community ecosystem.

Main Line Health was selected as the 2024 Equity of Care Award, Transforming winner for creating and implementing strategies that promote equity within its community. To ensure personalized care experiences from the beginning, Main Line Health conducts thorough interviews to determine patients’ preferred titles/names, languages spoken and other demographic data while also discussing visiting hours, dietary requirements and access to patient advocates. Continuous improvement in the patient care experience is one of the top priorities for Main Line Health, which is done through employee training programs and accountability measures, ensuring that patient experience goals flow through all levels of the organization. Initiatives like diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all employees and leaders and the implementation of employee resource groups (ERGs), lunch and learns and listening circles contribute to a culture focused on delivering equitable care and fostering a diverse workforce reflective of the communities served.

Main Line Health’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is embodied in workforce representation and community collaborations, which is evident with diversity and representation on their Board of Governors, in leadership roles, among physicians, and in creating more internal pathways for entry-level employees. Main Line Health stratifies more than 100 quality and safety metrics by REAL, gender, age, zip code and other characteristics and has embedded healthcare equity metrics and initiatives in their clinical environment and service lines while creating accountability for senior leaders and the board. In addition, Main Line Health partners with the Together for West Philadelphia coalition to foster collaboration among health care institutions and community organizations. Main Line Health addresses societal factors that impact health through programs like stroke education targeting vulnerable communities and expanding the community health worker workforce to close gaps for discharged patients with social needs. 

2024 Equity of Care Award, Emerging Winner — Recognizes a hospital that is leveraging the Health Equity Roadmap resources to dismantle structural barriers in their care delivery system and the communities they serve.

Augusta Health was selected as the Equity of Care Award, Emerging winner for key culturally sensitive care initiatives such as the Mobile Medical Clinic and Culturally Competent Care Education. The Mobile Medical Clinic utilizes geospatial analysis to identify underserved areas and provide tailored primary care services. The Culturally Competent Care Education program focuses on supporting LGBTQIA+ patients by collaborating with community organizations and providing training for staff and physicians aimed at improving communication and care for LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Through their Health Equity Strategic Plan and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policy, Augusta Health has outlined efforts to address health care disparities, including data collection, staff education, and community outreach. In addition, DEI policy reflects Augusta Health’s dedication to dismantling inequities within its systems and services, ensuring ongoing progress and accountability. 

In the last few years, Augusta Health has established programs to address local health disparities. The Housing Summit, convened in 2023, brought together stakeholders to discuss sustainable housing solutions, reflecting Augusta Health’s commitment to addressing societal factors that impact health. Similarly, the Infant and Maternal Health Navigator program, established in 2022, focuses on supporting structurally marginalized populations, including incarcerated women, through comprehensive care and community resources. Through these initiatives, Augusta Health demonstrates an integrated approach to advancing health equity and fostering inclusive and accessible healthcare for all.

2024 Equity of Care Award, Small/Rural Hospital Excellence Winner — Recognizes a hospital or health system that has demonstrated excellence in advancing health equity in rural or small communities. 

AnMed was selected as the Equity of Care, Small/Rural Hospital Excellence Award winner for improving the language services and communications offerings for patients who have limited English proficiency. This effort, which includes both in-person and digital-interpretation options for multiple languages, has guaranteed precision and uniformity in delivering language services, ultimately leading to increased satisfaction among diverse patient groups.

AnMed’s work on diversity, equity and inclusion extends beyond language assistance and is ingrained in all facets of its activities. Integral aspects include addressing broad social drivers of health and promoting racial reconciliation in its community. The health system has mandatory diversity training for staff members and internal support groups for special populations. AnMed actively fosters an environment that embraces inclusivity to mirror the local community it serves. Collaborations with nonprofit organizations like the United Way highlight AnMed’s comprehensive approach to community wellbeing. By embracing effective community partnerships, AnMed continues to establish a benchmark for inclusive health care delivery and social responsibility, ensuring that all residents of Upstate South Carolina have access to fair care and opportunities for a healthier future.