Rise to Health Coalition A Different Kind of Health Equity Initiative

The Rise to Health Coalition: A Different Kind of Health Equity Initiative

Why It Matters

A new coalition of organizations with unique strengths and expertise will work together to advance health equity across the US.


Some people may see quality improvement and working on health equity as separate endeavors, but I see it differently. Improvement methodologies, reliability science, quality improvement methods, and safety sciences are designed to identify where variations occur in systems and then to reduce or eliminate them. Inequities are unjust, unconscionable, very costly variations in systems.

While many disciplines need to play a role in addressing the challenge of health equity, the quality movement can make a special contribution. As we have worked on health equity in systems around the country through our Pursuing Equity initiatives, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has seen the value of the technical tools of improvement as they have been used to reduce or eliminate unwanted, undesired variation. When teams identify inequities and apply quality improvement methods to address them, dramatic effects follow in short order.

We now plan to build on that knowledge to advance equity at scale. IHI has joined with the American Medical Association (AMA), in collaboration with Race Forward and an impressive list of organizations and key funders, to create Rise to Health: A National Coalition for Equity in Health Care. The Rise to Health Coalition will catalyze individuals and organizations committed to health equity and justice to build, change, and transform health care with shared solutions and collective actions.

Building on Momentum

We may not have always realized it, but inequities are present in every corner of our health system, in every part of our communities. And these inequities are not new. Health inequities have existed for centuries, and when we see them in the lives of our patients, our families, and in our communities, we cannot stand idly by and do nothing.

I believe the Rise to Health Coalition is coming together at an important time. More of us are recognizing the opportunities for making a difference not just in isolated parts of the system, but at scale throughout the entire nation. It is especially exciting that many organizations are demonstrating interest in cooperating and collaborating so that we can move the needle on equity in ways none of us could ever do on our own.

With the Rise to Health Coalition, we are shifting our approach and strategy to advancing health equity. Through the formation of a coalition that includes racial justice organizations — such as Race Forward and the Groundwater Institute — we will collectively design and implement solutions that take a more historical and longitudinal perspective for the problems of health inequity in our systems. These organizations have the knowledge, skills, expertise, and assets to guide and ground this work. They, along with our strategic advisory group, will hold us accountable to ensure meaningful and sustainable impact, not only in numbers, but also in the day-to-day lives of the people and communities that are structurally marginalized.

Working together as organizations with unique strengths and expertise generates new ideas and perspectives and brings more accountability to the work. As part of the Coalition, we will access and use each other’s levers, strengths, and resources. Our goal is to build our capacities and opportunities for action and shared solutions across the health care ecosystem. Together, we can fundamentally change the story of equity in this country. Please join us and commit to taking action.

Editor’s note: Look for more each month from IHI President and CEO Kedar Mate, MD, (@KedarMate) on improvement science, social justice, leadership, and improving health and health care worldwide.

Photo by Ivana Cajina | Unsplash

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