• The AAFP has long been focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in family medicine. The creation of the Center for Diversity & Health Equity (CDHE) and the EveryONE Project initiative extended that work, offering members important resources to improve health equity. But the needs of our specialty — and the communities we serve — continue to change. The events of 2020 brought about heightened awareness of the inequities that continue to plague the country. And this demanded a change in our approach to ensure that health care works for everyone. 

    In January 2022, the AAFP Board of Directors approved the formation of the Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness in Family Medicine to inform future DEI work and expand leadership opportunities for family physicians. This commission, which has 10 inaugural members, will apply diversity, equity, inclusiveness and antiracism lenses to guide the Academy’s recommendations, policies and work addressing disparities in care, health and the workforce. Dr. Ada Stewart shares more in A Word from the President blog, We’re Integrating DEI Across Our Work.

    "From societal divisiveness to health disparities that were further exposed by COVID-19, it’s an important time for us to build upon the work of the AAFP’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity and evaluate what additional support the AAFP can provide family physicians to ensure that all of their patients feel valued and respected as equal members of society.”

    Ada Stewart, M.D., DEI Commission Chair

     


    DEI Definitions: What We Mean

    Diversity: NEW

    Differences of people with respect to, but not limited by, race, ethnicity, color, religion, background, national or geographic origin, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, education, thoughts, preferences, and skills, among others. 


     

    Equity: NEW

    The absence of avoidable and unfair differences among individuals or groups of people. The playing field has been leveled so that everyone has a fair opportunity to attain their full potential, and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential for any reason.

    Inclusion: NEW

    Equitable opportunities are provided for participation and sharing that demonstrate everyone is equally valued and feel welcome.


    DEI Survey Results: What We Learned

    A 2021 survey of AAFP members assessed the AAFP’s strengths and opportunities. The Exeter Group, a health care equity consulting firm, administered the survey.

    2,432 Members Participated

    The average score on the AAFP survey was 82.50%. While the AAFP’s DEI rating from members is strong and above benchmark,  we know there is always more work we can do.   

      Organization 1 Organization 2 AAFP
    DEI Index 72.08% 80.17% 82.50%
    Size 4,000+ Members 20,000+ Members 100,000+ Members
    Industry Healthcare Association Healthcare Association Healthcare Association

    Current DEI Strengths 

    • Members rated the AAFP highly on DEI.
    • Members acknowledged the AAFP’s positive intentions and specific efforts to advance DEI.
    • Member awareness and familiarity with DEI were high, demonstrating that successful foundational work had already been done.   

    Opportunities to Improve DEI

    • Enhance DEI training and resources.
    • Take action over talk, establish metrics to monitor, and communicate progress transparently.
    • Increase diversity within leadership, which includes addressing barriers to entry.
    • Promote celebration over tolerance.

    Initial Focus Based on Findings

    Our Approach: Integrate DEI Through All Focused Work

    Rather than having a distinct workstream, DEI efforts are integrated as a component across all our existing — and new — work. We'll spend time doing additional research where there are large variances and work with target groups to understand where to further DEI efforts.

    2021-22 Strategic Plan: Actions Taken to Date 

    • Engage: Proactively engage with public health stakeholders to rebuild and transform a collaborative infrastructure that values health equity and health care for all
    • Position Family Physicians and the AAFP to be leaders in advancing racial equity in family medicine through focused work in research and education
    • Increase student choice of family medicine as their specialty, including those populations typically underrepresented in medicine
    • Support: Expand and support high-quality family medicine GME positions
    • Leadership: Begin assessment of barriers and implement changes. Learn more about the AAFP's new DEI commission
    • Elevate Importance: A calendar was established with the Board to align on holidays, days of cultural importance or days of observation we will ensure are avoided when scheduling AAFP meetings. We have also developed a calendar of such days and months of importance we have prioritized, which we will make a special effort to acknowledge in our AAFP communications plans.