AHA to commit $230 million to address social determinants of health, health equity
The American Heart Association announced its commitment to a series of investments addressing social determinants of health and the barriers to achieving health equity for all communities.
According to a press release, the AHA will raise and invest more than $230 million over the next 4 years to support targeted initiatives and programs focused on removing barriers to equitable health for all.
“In order to ensure every person has the same opportunity for a full, healthy life, the barriers that worsen the economic, social and health inequities of vulnerable communities must be dismantled,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA, said in the release. “It is the right thing to do, the just thing to do and the only way to improve overall health in this country. We look forward to working with like-minded organizations and supporters to be a relentless force for change that will result in longer, healthier lives for all.”
Specifically, the AHA committed to:
- investing $100 million in new scientific research programs and grants focused on evidence-based solutions to health inequities and structural racism;
- expanding diversity-research opportunities for underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in science and medicine through grant funding, STEM programs and its established historical Black colleges and universities and EmPOWERED to Serve Scholars programs;
- investing at least $100 million to address targeted, community-level health equity barriers through its Social Impact Fund, the Bernard J. Tyson Social Impact Fund and its community-based issues campaigns including its Voices for Healthy Kids initiative; and
- in partnership with HHS, launching a $121 million nationwide hypertension initiative to address a main source of poor CV health in Black, Hispanic and Indigenous communities.
In addition, the AHA will elevate scientific discourse around health equity by publishing more science focused on disparities, anti-racism, health equity and community-based participation in its peer-reviewed journals, according to the release.
“Our financial commitments build on the presidential advisory and add to our pledge to take immediate and ongoing action to accelerate social equity and improve health for everyone,” Mitchell S. V. Elkind, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN, president of the AHA, professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and attending neurologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, said in the release. “The American Heart Association looks forward to working with allies across the country on the national, state and local level to break down barriers impeding the health of rural communities and communities of color who have been historically and systematically marginalized.”