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AMA Announces Effort to Advance Equitable Innovation in Health Care

Formation of external advisory group creates unique opportunity to center marginalized communities in health innovation

Building on its commitment to advance equity in health care innovation, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced the creation of an external committee of experts dedicated to advising the organization on equitable structures and opportunities in health innovation that would benefit historically marginalized people and communities. 

The Equity and Innovation Advisory Group will provide guidance and support for the AMA to ensure equitable innovation in health care, an approach outlined in the AMA’s three-year strategic plan dedicated to embedding racial justice and advancing health equity. The advisors are tasked with providing direction on a shared vision for a U.S. health care innovation sector that prioritizes resource allocation for meaningful solutions to advance health, racial, and social justice, and ensures that the race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity of innovators and investors mirror that of the nation. 

“Convening this advisory group is a major step forward in expanding the AMA’s ongoing work toward equitable innovation in health care,” says AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. “Through the combined expertise of physicians and innovators, we can continue to drive the future of medicine by promoting innovation and digital health solutions designed to tackle one of the biggest challenges in health care—improving health for our most marginalized patients and communities.” 

Data shows that Black, Latinx, women, LGBTQ+, and other innovators from historically marginalized communities have been drastically underfunded and underrepresented in solution design efforts, contributing to a health solution landscape that neglects and often harms these patient populations—exacerbating and perpetuating health inequities. Investing in solutions designed by and for marginalized communities is not just the right thing to do; research indicates that it’s a wise investment. Economic opportunity associated with increased investment in women and minoritized founder–led companies is estimated to be over $4 trillion, while reducing racial health inequities is estimated to generate economic gains of $135 billion per year, according to research from Morgan Stanley and by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Altarum. 

The advisory group plans to recommend strategies that will help drive equitable resources to health solutions created by marginalized innovators and include marginalized patients’ voices in health innovation development processes—with a target of ultimately reaching a measurable improvement in health outcomes and reduction of health inequities within marginalized populations. 

Comprising 14 industry leaders with a vast array of expertise at the intersection of health equity and health innovation, the group’s newly announced members include the following:  

  • Abner Mason, founder and CEO of ConsejoSano;
  • Andrey Ostrovsky, MD, managing partner at Social Innovation Ventures;
  • Chris Gibbons, MD, MPH, founder and CEO of The Greystone Group;
  • Courtney D. Cogburn, PhD, an associate professor at Columbia University School of Social Work;
  • Ivelyse Andino, CEO and founder of Radical Health;
  • Ivor Braden Horn, MD, MPH, director of health equity & product inclusion for Google;
  • Katie Drasser, CEO of;
  • Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, MPA, founder and CEO of Grapevine Health;
  • Michael Penn, MD, PhD, founding partner of Health Equity Ventures;
  • Monique Smith, MD, MS, founding director of Health DesignED at Emory University;
  • Nathalie Molina Niño, managing director of Known Holdings;
  • Sandee Kastrul, president and cofounder of i.c.stars;
  • Shantanu Nundy, MD, MBA, primary care physician and technologist at Accolade Health; and
  • Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco. 

“The health innovation sector has incredible potential to advance health equity, but most industry models do not incorporate an equity lens—risking automation, scaling, and exacerbation of health, racial, and social inequities,” says AMA Chief Health Equity Officer Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH. “The external Equity and Innovation Advisory Group exists to hold us accountable in meaningful ways to ensure that historically marginalized communities have equitable access to health innovation design, start-up development, and investment opportunities, as we laid out in AMA’s Strategic Plan to Embed Racial Justice and Advance Equity.” 

In addition to advising on embedding racial justice and health equity within AMA’s existing health care innovation work, the group will also bolster efforts on the following equity objectives: 

  • equipping the health care innovation sector to advance equity and justice;
  • centering, integrating, and amplifying historically marginalized and minoritized patients, innovators, and investors in health innovation; and
  • engaging in cross-sector collaboration and advocacy efforts.

Through research, collaborations, advocacy, and leadership, the AMA believes in supporting system-level solutions and identifying and addressing root causes of inequities while elevating their importance to patients, communities, and stakeholders. The External Equity and Innovation Advisory Group is one example of that commitment created and executed by the AMA’s Center for Health Equity, which works to strengthen, amplify, and sustain the AMA’s work to eliminate health inequities—improving health outcomes and closing inequities gaps—rooted in historical and contemporary injustices and discrimination.

Source: American Medical Association