• Health Equity Resources for Media

    From interviews to AAFP resources and research, find everything you need to cover health equity.

    For Media Inquiries, Contact

    Julie Hirschhorn
    Public Relations Manager

    Emily Holwick
    Public Relations Strategist

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    Hear from AAFP Leaders:

    AAFP President Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAFP, and AAFP Board Member Sarah Nosal, MD, FAAFP, talk about health equity during National Minority Health Month. Media outlets are free to use these interviews for broadcast or publication with credit to the AAFP.

    If you would like to set up additional media interviews, please contact Emily Holwick at eholwick@aafp.org

    2023 Health Equity Fellows Press Release
    The American Academy of Family Physicians is excited to welcome the 2023 class of Health Equity Fellows. The AAFP Health Equity Fellowship is designed to develop family physicians into leaders who have subject matter expertise in the social, institutional, and cultural influences that impact our nation’s health. 

    Elizabeth Beither, M.D.

    Pablo Da Silva, M.D., M.P.H.

    Lillian Holloway, M.D.

    Erin Kavanaugh, M.D., FAAFP

    AAFP Advocacy Efforts 

    AAFP Advocacy Focus: Health Equity
    The AAFP is committed to advocating for policies that promote health equity with the goal of prioritizing preventive health and management of chronic conditions.

    AAFP Letter to Congress on CONNECT for Health Act 1/30/23
    More work must be done by Congress to address the structural barriers to virtual care, particularly for low-income, chronically ill, rural, and patients from other marginalized communities.

    AAFP Comments to CMS on Health Equity 10/28/22
    The AAFP appreciates the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) focus on reducing health inequities and ensuring all individuals have access to comprehensive, timely health care.

    AAFP comments to HHS on Nondiscrimination in Health Care 9/28/22
    The AAFP shares HHS’ commitment to advancing health equity and ensuring all individuals, especially those belonging to historically underserved groups, receive accessible, respectful, and comprehensive health care. 

    AAFP Health Equity Policies and Position Papers

    Policy: Health Equity
    The AAFP supports the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. 

    Policy: Race Based Medicine
    The AAFP opposes the use of race as a proxy for biology or genetics in clinical evaluation and management and in research. 

    Position Paper: Advancing Helath Equity by Addressing to Social Determinants of Health in Family Medicine
    Social determinants of health (SDoH) are the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. SDoH, especially poverty, structural racism, and discrimination, are the primary drivers of health inequities.

    Position Paper: Cultural Sensitivity: The Importance of Cultural Sensitivity in Providing Effective Care for Diverse Populations
    Culturally and linguistically appropriate services, broadly defined as care and services that are respectful of and responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of all individuals, hold the promise to reduce health disparities.

    Striving for Birth Equity: Family Medicine's Role in Overcoming Disparities in Maternal Morbidity and Mortality
    The maternal mortality rate in the United States is one of the highest in the developed world. As medical experts and trusted members of their communities, family physicians can serve as effective agents in facilitating and advocating for change.

    AAFP News Stories

    Health Equity Fellow Says Family Medicine Is ‘Made’ for Her Work
    2023 Health Equity Fellow Elizabeth Beiter, MD, shares why health equity is important to her and how she hopes to advance it through the AAFP fellowship.

    Meet the 2023 AAFP Health Equity Fellows
    The AAFP has selected four family physicians for the 2023 class of Health Equity Fellows. The fellowship is an integral part of the Academy’s work to create leaders who can address health inequity at the individual, community and system levels.

    Tools Help FPs Give Culturally, Linguistically Appropriate Care
    Family physicians now have access to new tools in several languages to help them assist their patients in choosing and using health coverage that meets their individual needs.

    Tools for FPs Highlighted for Black Maternal Health Week
    Black Maternal Health Week raises awareness of and develop solutions to the health disparities Black women face while pregnant. The AAFP shares resources to help family physicians address disparities in maternal care.

    FPs Key to Improving Access and Equity, Academy Tells CMS
    The AAFP calls for stronger investment in primary care, greater commitment to administrative simplification and swift movement to plug the gaps in CMS’ “road map” for the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

    Issue Brief Examines COVID-19 Effects on Vaccination Equity
    The COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project, a group of more than 190 organizations and partners including the AAFP, released an issue brief on the impact of the pandemic on vaccination equity.

    New Survey Examines Effects of SDOH on Doctors, Patients
    The survey looked at the impact of social drivers/ determinants of health (SDOH) on physicians and patients and explored potential solutions to address SDOH. 

    Resident Beckons Underserved Students to Family Medicine
    Pablo da Silva, M.D., M.P.H., a 2023 AAFP Health Equity Fellow, mentors students from underserved communities who might be interested in becoming family physicians.

    AAFP Health Equity Resources 

    AAFP Center for Diversity and Health Equity
    The AAFP formed the Center for Diversity and Health Equity to address social determinants of health and increase family physicians’ ability to help respond to patients’ social needs.

    The EveryONE Project
    The EveryONE Project was created by the AAFP’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity to educate family physicians about health equity and equip them with tools to address social determinants of health.

    The Health of US Primary Care: A Baseline Scorecard Tracking Support for High-Quality Primary Care
    The first national primary care scorecard looked at the need for support to provide high-quality primary care, including financing, workforce, access, training and research. 

    Family Physicians Providing Obstetric Care in Maternity Care Deserts
    Robert Graham Center Policy One-Pager illustrates family physicians providing obstetric care in maternity care deserts.

    Peer- Reviewed Journal Publications

    Improving Adult Immunization Rates Within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities
    The authors identified strategies and communication efforts used by family medicine physicians and their practices to increase immunization rates among adult racial and ethnic minority patients. 

    AFP collection: Care of Special Populations 
    This collection features content from American Family Physician on the care of special populations and related issues, including ethnic minorities.

    FPM collection: Health Equity, Diversity and Social Determinants of Health
    This collection features content from Family Practice Management relating to health equity.

    Annals of Family Medicine: A Shared Bibliography on Systemic Racism and Health Disparities
    Annals of Family Medicine compiled a list of scholarship from the family medicine community exploring racism in medicine. 

    External Research

    Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States, 2021
    Data from the CDC shows maternal mortality rates rose in the U.S. in 2021, disproportionately impacting minority populations.

    Key Data on Health and Health Care by Race and Ethnicity 
    “This analysis examines how people of color fared compared to White people across a broad range of measures of health, health care, and social determinants of health.”

    Patient-Physician Racial Concordance Associated with Improved Healthcare Use and Lower Healthcare Expenditures in Minority Populations
    “The study analyzed several years’ worth of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data and found that racial concordance between patients and physicians resulted in less ER use and reduced health care expenditures.”

    Achieving Racial and Ethnic Equity in U.S. Health Care: Scorecard 
    “An extensive analysis from the Commonwealth Fund finds that health care systems are failing many people of color in every state.”

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What are social determinants of health?

    A: Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. Studies have shown only 20% of your health is determined by your health care, leaving the other 80% up to the environment in which you live.  

    The factors that strongly influence health outcomes include a person’s access to medical care, nutritious foods, clean water, housing and transportation. Factors like education, health literacy and job security also impact a person’s health.

    Q: How are family physicians uniquely positioned to address health disparities and advance health equity?

    A: Health equity is integral to the practice of family medicine. Family physicians are uniquely connected to their communities and witness firsthand the social and structural inequities in health and health care that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority communities.

    With deep knowledge of communities and experience caring for diverse patient populations, family physicians play an important role in identifying and addressing health care disparities impacting minority populations.

    Family physicians build long-term relationships with patients and have a holistic view of their health. This makes them uniquely positioned to provide proactive, preventive care that prioritizes long-term patient wellness.  Family physicians promote health equity by considering the balance of social determinants that impact the health of an individual, family, community, population, and environment.  

    Q: How does the AAFP help family physicians advance health equity?

    A: AAFP is actively working to equip members with tools to address health inequities and improve access to high-quality primary care for all. The AAFP created the Center for Diversity and Health Equity in 2017 to advance diversity in the family medicine workforce, advocate for health in all policies, increase awareness of social determinants of health, and promote health equity through collaboration with external organizations.

    CDHE developed the EveryONE Project, which offers education and resources to help practices advocate for health equity, promote workforce diversity, and collaborate with other disciplines and organizations to reduce harmful health disparities. The AAFP also helped launch the Neighborhood Navigator, an easy-to-use online search engine to find supportive social services by zip code. It’s available to both patients and physicians in 107 languages and lists more than 40,000 social services.

    To help inform the AAFP’s DEI work moving forward and to expand leadership opportunities for family physicians, the Board of Directors approved the formation of the Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness in Family Medicine, which will help guide the Academy’s recommendations, policies and work addressing disparities in care, health and the workforce.

    A wide range of Continuing Medical Education (CME) products provide members with both foundational knowledge and the clinical skills to address health disparities at the point of care. 

    Q: How does the AAFP advocate for health equity?

    A: The AAFP is committed to advocating for policies that promote health equity through identifying and incorporating social determinants of health in all health care delivery systems — with the goal of prioritizing preventive health and management of chronic conditions.

    Family physicians can mitigate health inequity, including systemic racism, by collaborating with community stakeholders to affect positive change for the populations they serve.

    The AAFP recognizes equity as a public health issue and prioritizes it in our advocacy efforts to ensure that health care is equitable, accessible, and affordable for all Americans. The AAFP supports a Health in All Policies approach to policymaking, investments in equitable and affordable access to comprehensive primary care, improvements in population health, and advancement of health equity.