Family Medicine for America's Health

December 2018 Update

December 2018 Update

Health Equity Team Passes the Torch to the Center for Diversity and Health Equity

The Health Equity Team met in Kansas City with staff from the AAFP’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity (CDHE) to transition FMAHealth developed products to the CDHE for ongoing stewardship and development. The CDHE is the voice of health equity for the specialty of family medicine and has been working in close collaboration with the Health Equity Team since CDHE’s inception in 2017.

The team highlighted results of three projects at the meeting. Building on ideas introduced at Starfield II: A Health Equity Summit, the team developed a Health Equity Curricular Toolkit for teaching health equity and educating learners on social determinants of health and the impact of disparities on health outcomes. The toolkit is designed for use by medical students, residents, and those outside of traditional learning environments; from novice to expert learning levels, to learn and discuss many dimensions of health equity. The toolkit has been completed and is currently being evaluated by several residency programs. The evaluation effort is being led by the National Research Network and is expected to be released more broadly in mid 2019.

The Business Case for Health Equity team is winding up its first phase of work. Through interviews with a number of companies of different sizes in a variety of industries, and a focused literature search, the team has identified what those companies see as tangible benefits that result from their efforts to improve the health and well-being of their employees and that of their surrounding communities. While more research is needed, early findings confirm that companies find that health disparities are costly and the health of their employees directly impacts productivity. They believe that interventions to reduce the level of chronic, preventable health conditions that come about due to health disparities yield a return on their investment.

This project has attracted the interest of a number of organizations, including NASEM, ASTHO, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasing Coalitions, and the National Chamber of Commerce among others. Brian Frank, MD, the project team leader, will be meeting with the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) on December 12th to discuss findings from the first phase of work and hear from NASEM’s team about work they are doing on achieving health equity.

The team is now working with its Advisory Group and the CDHE to determine how best to focus its efforts in the next phase of the project.

Finally, The AAFP’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity, in collaboration with FMAHealth, launched the first cohort in a Health Equity Fellowship program. The inaugural Health Equity Fellows, Michelle Quiogue, MD, FAAFP, Karen Isaacs, MD, MPH, and Paul Ravenna, MD were introduced at the Kansas City meeting and established relationships with Mentors. The Health Equity Fellowship will cultivate a cohort of family medicine physicians who will be considered by the CDHE as subject matter experts on the social, institutional and cultural influences that impact health. Over the next year, each fellow will work closely with CDHE Staff and FMAHealth Mentors as they work through the Fellowship Curriculum and on a capstone project.

Update from Health is Primary
Health is Primary sponsored the Alliance for Health Policy’s series on Aging in America. The October 10 Summit in Washington, DC featured Iora Health co-founder and CEO, Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, who discussed the company’s efforts to reinvent primary care. The event can be viewed here. A congressional briefing on this topic was held on December 7 and included Dr. Tom Cornwell, a family physician and national leader in home-centered primary care. Lance Robertson, Assistant Secretary for Aging at US Health and Human Services provided remarks at the Hill briefing and emphasized the Administration’s commitment to accelerating the shift to value-based payment in health care. Learn more here.

Health is Primary is focused on staying healthy in December. You can download the monthly toolkit at

New campaign videos are now available. Health is Primary has launched two new explainer videos on the value and cost effectiveness of primary care. The videos are available in the tool library at

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