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Advancing Health Equity

The Commonwealth Fund’s Advancing Health Equity (AHE) program, established in 2021, aims to advance equity in U.S. health care. Its goal is to eliminate unequal treatment, experience, and outcomes in health and health care for people of color by reducing systemic racism in health care policy and practice through two focus areas: promoting models that drive health and racial equity within the health care ecosystem and driving implementation of policies that advance health equity.

Promoting models that drive health and racial equity within health care ecosystems.

This focus area’s goal is to equip health care stakeholders with the necessary tools to ensure equitable, high-quality care. Financial and regulatory pressures can motivate health care leaders to examine their internal cultures, attitudes, and beliefs and take remedial action. Delivery systems and payers have opportunities to examine care practices, better understand the needs and experiences of the people they serve, and develop tailored interventions that can advance health and racial equity in those communities. The program will drive the implementation and development of policies by:

  • Identifying best practices and showcasing system interventions for advancing equity.
  • Supporting stakeholders in the development and implementation of equity-focused models of care.
  • Driving health equity measures that can promote accountability (accreditation standards, quality measurement, and pay-for-equity initiatives).
  • Catalyzing implementation of equitable, community-led solutions.

Driving implementation of policies that advance health equity.

The goal of this focus area is to drive the implementation and development of policies that advance health equity. Having health insurance alone is not a guarantee of receiving equitable health care services. The program will fund efforts to ensure federal and state policies related to health coverage explicitly combat racism and ensure access to high-quality and equitable services. Examples of activities include:

  • Supporting research into current opportunities to advance equity and examining the equity impact of health policies, such as related to reproductive health.
  • Engaging with public and private payers and government stakeholders on equity business model opportunities.
  • Examining how Medicare, Medicaid managed care, and other coverage programs can dismantle racism in health care and better serve people of color.
  • Engaging stakeholders through research and informing new policy options that can address inequities in care.

Program Contact:

Laurie C. Zephyrin, Senior Vice President, Advancing Health Equity

2024 Program Funding Priorities

  • Testing and implementing new equity-centric models of care delivery or modifying existing models through partnership with community-based organizations
  • Understanding emerging health care reimbursement models that reward the narrowing of health disparities
  • Identifying effective Medicaid policies that advance health equity, particularly in maternal health
  • Assessing federal and state policies for their impact on health equity
  • Addressing opportunities to engage communities, funders, and policymakers to advance health equity

Our Experts

Laurie C. Zephyrin

Senior Vice President, Advancing Health Equity

Morenike Ayo-Vaughan

Program Officer, Advancing Health Equity

Noël Manu

Program Manager, Advancing Health Equity