Intensive Focuses on the Status and Goals of Health Equity in the US

A new Intensive focused on achieving the goal of health equity will highlight best practices related to regional and national health equity efforts, as well as methods to promote cardiovascular health equity, foster patient partnerships, and improve cardiovascular outcomes.

“As we move into the next phase of improving health outcomes for cardiovascular disease, it is important for us to focus on the many factors outside of the medical encounter that affect outcomes. The overarching theme for this Intensive is to move toward accomplishing the mission and vision of reducing disparities in health care and improving personal cardiovascular health,” said Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, FACC, co-chair of the session. “We’ve come a long way in decreasing the number of people dying from heart disease, but we need to focus on how we can improve adherence to treatment strategies. That is the call to action for this Health Equity Intensive.”

Expo"We’ve come a long way in decreasing the number of people dying from heart disease, but we need to focus on how we can improve adherence to treatment strategies. That is the call to action for this Health Equity Intensive." Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, FACC

Co-chaired by Mieres, Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, FACC, and Laurence S. Sperling, MD, FACC, the Intensive will address the impact on cardiovascular health of factors such as culture, language, access to care and the patient partnership with clinicians. The first part of the Intensive will focus on the status of health equity and the role of health care practice in achieving equity. Former ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, MACC, will kick-off the session with a patient case presentation exploring cardiovascular outcomes through the lens of health equity that will set the stage for discussions of health equity challenges from ethnic and gender perspectives. Jonca Bull, MD, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assistant commissioner for minority health, will also discuss FDA strategies for ensuring accurate representation of minority populations in clinical trials.

The second part of the Intensive will move the discussion forward and focus on steps necessary to achieve health equity in cardiovascular disease care. Expert presenters will explore the concept of shared decision making customized to incorporate culture, language and health literacy, as well as topics ranging from institutional racism to the stress of racism as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Ferdinand describes the third part of the Intensive as “an effort to bring forth potential practical solutions to eliminating health disparities by race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and gender.” He will start the session with a discussion of the “Louisiana Story,” highlighting the impact on patients and hospitals of decreased access to care and how that changed after the Affordable Care Act was implemented in Louisiana. Other highlights include talks by former FDA commissioner, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, and Kimberly Dawn Wisdom, MD, former surgeon general of Michigan. Wayne Giles, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, will provide perspectives on the Healthy People 2020 program for eliminating disparities nationwide. A case presentation will facilitate a lively panel discussion on what needs to be done to achieve cardiovascular health equity.

With the possibility of major changes in our social and cultural environment regarding socioeconomic disparities and how they affect achieving health equity, attendees’ input and participation is needed. According to Ferdinand, the U.S. has the lowest life expectancy among developed societies with the largest amount of money per capita spent on health care. “However,” he notes, “this is not due to inefficiencies of health care delivery, but rather the large disparities in the prevalence and burden of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death.”

“Our hope is that attendees will recognize not only the challenges, but also the major opportunities related to health equities and cardiovascular care,” said Sperling.


The Are We There Yet? The Long Journey to Health Equity Intensive will take place today from 10:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in Room 152 A.

Keywords: ACC Publications, ACC Scientific Session Newspaper, ACC Annual Scientific Session, Cardiovascular Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), Health Literacy, Heart Diseases, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Risk Factors, Stroke, United States Food and Drug Administration


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