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Accelerate Health Equity Launches with New Approach to Health Inequality in Philadelphia

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Accelerate Health Equity launches today, bringing together organizations across the region to produce tangible improvement in health inequities, and ultimately achieve measurable, positive changes in health outcomes in Philadelphia. With the tagline “Working Together for a Healthier Philadelphia,” AmeriHealth Caritas, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Independence Blue Cross, Jefferson Health, Main Line Health, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple Health and Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic are joining forces to take a new approach to health equity.

Philadelphia has consistently ranked last out of the state’s 67 counties in County Health Rankings based on data analyzing quality of life, health factors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment. This collaboration brings together organizations who serve City residents in a joint commitment to combat systemic racism and barriers to achieving health equity. Accelerate Health Equity is digging deep into the data and shaping pilot programs to address health conditions and social determinants of health. 

“As a City, we are strongest when we work together, which is why we are so pleased to work with these outstanding local organizations to lead the way to building a healthier and more equitable Philadelphia. This collaboration and ability to scale successful pilots will be vital in breaking down systemic inequities and racial disparities that have affected the health and well-being of our communities,” said Cheryl Bettigole, MD, MPH, City of Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner.

Accelerate Health Equity includes three core components: 
•    Launching Pilot Programs: Individual pilot programs tied to identified areas that impact health outcomes.
•    Measuring Progress: A publicly available digital health equity dashboard based on data provides an in-depth view of 16 health equity challenge areas and will also track progress of pilot programs.
•    Collaborating to Scale: Pilot programs will be evaluated and information will be disseminated to inform health and service providers and quickly scale successful pilot programs to expand their reach and impact.

It is hoped that this effort will accelerate the pace of progress. Participating organizations are working together to design measurable pilot programs to combat disparities ranging from issues like maternal morbidity and mortality; to cancer screening and prevention; to neighborhood conditions and reducing the risk of heart disease and more. These specific disparities were chosen after a review of the County Health Rankings and the Community Health Needs Assessment data and neighborhood analyses identified them as the most urgent issues. Initial pilot programs include: Housing Smart from Temple Health focusing on housing and support services for people without housing; Closing the Gap,  Jefferson Health’s partnership with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation that looks at social determinants of health that impact cardiovascular health outcomes in low-resource communities; Independence Blue Cross’s and AmeriHealth Caritas’s Keystone Connection to Wellness with Project HOME focused on maternal health outcomes; Penn Medicine’s focus on heart attack risk reduction through its Penn Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) Risk Reduction Program; and Together For West Philadelphia, an initiative chaired by leaders from Main Line Health and Trinity Mid-Atlantic to maximize the impact of health equity in West Philadelphia. 

“We’re excited to work with Accelerate Health Equity,” said Michael A. Young, MHA, FACHE, President and CEO of Temple University Health System. “This collaboration solidifies partnerships across a diverse array of organizations with a unified goal to share innovative approaches that reduce healthcare disparities and ensure that our vulnerable communities receive the best medical care and available social resources.”

Community input and partnership will be a critical part of Accelerate Health Equity projects. Ultimately, the intent is for this work to improve the health of our friends and neighbors and serve as a model to help other communities.