Inequity is undoubtedly the most persistent and pressing challenge facing the healthcare industry today. Health inequities are the result of unfair systems negatively affecting the living conditions, access to care and overall health status of individuals, usually those from disadvantaged or historically marginalized groups.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely exacerbated long-standing disparities in healthcare and health outcomes. As a society, we must move beyond reactive narratives toward proactive intervention.
An absolute unwillingness to continue to accept these inequities drives my passion to catalyze change and informs the comprehensive approach I help lead through Sutter Health’s Institute for Advancing Health Equity. Our outlook centers on uncovering inequities in healthcare and furthering solutions within our health system, communities and the nation. Addressing bias is an integral part of this work.
Through our organization’s efforts, we’ve seen firsthand how bias can manifest in various aspects of medicine, bringing with it wide-ranging and harmful impacts on patients, their families and the communities we serve. While progress has been made, solutions are still needed—which is why we’re committed to developing a multi-dimensional strategy across our integrated network to uncover hidden bias.
Bias in healthcare—whether on the part of individuals (such as unconscious bias) or structurally built into algorithms, treatment protocols and devices—is well-documented by researchers and is known to be a key contributor to adverse health outcomes.