Health Equity

Improving health and health care worldwide requires a focus on equity — equity of access, treatments, and outcomes. Health equity is realized when each individual has a fair opportunity to achieve their full health potential.

Differences in access, treatment, and outcomes between individuals and across populations that are systemic, avoidable, predictable, and unjust are particularly problematic for quality improvers. These types of differences are often referred to as inequities or disparities. Inequities are the worst type of unwanted variation in a system — variation linked to the complicated history and reality of racism, classism, sexism, ableism, ageism, and other forms of oppression. Quality improvers have a role to play and a set of tools to use in health care systems and communities to remediate inequities.

IHI strives for a future free of health inequities and is committing its tools, talents, and team to this essential human pursuit. IHI aims to achieve health equity by working in collaboration with organizations, communities, and individuals to accelerate the elimination of inequities in health and health care access, treatment, and outcomes across our nation.

Together, we can make the improvements needed to achieve health equity.

​The Forgotten Aim: Health Equity

In this video, IHI President and CEO Derek Feeley explains how equity of access and treatment is only part of the Institute of Medicine's "Six Aims for Improvement."

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What Is Health Equity, and Why Does It Matter?
Featured Video Series: David R. Williams, PhD, MPH, and Don Berwick, MD
What Is Health Equity, and Why Does It Matter?
Health disparities expert David Williams defines health equity and the impact of health disparities on people of color.
Why Haven’t We Made More Progress on Health Equity?
Health disparities expert David R. Williams explains the progress and challenges in reducing health inequities in the United States.
Does Racism Play a Role in Health Inequities?
Health disparities expert David R. Williams explains how racism — including implicit bias — plays a role in health inequities.
How Can Providers Reduce Unconscious Bias?
Health disparities expert David R. Williams discusses promising strategies to reduce implicit bias against people of color and other minority groups.
How Can Health Care Promote Health Equity?
Health disparities expert David R. Williams discusses the role of health care and other factors to create health equity.
What One Thing Would You Do to Create Health Equity?
Health disparities expert David R. Williams discusses the most important change that could create health equity.
Why Does Health Equity Matter to You?
Dr. Don Berwick discusses why health equity is important to him personally.
How Can Providers Help Create Health Equity?
Dr. Don Berwick talks about where health providers can start in promoting health equity.

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