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Health Equity

In its purest form, health equity is every member of society having a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as they choose, regardless of where they live, how they look or what resources are at their disposal.

Despite continued analysis demonstrating unequal outcomes, and an abundance of reports and resources available, disparate health outcomes are worsening for some populations and clinical conditions.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides the following definition: “Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”

Health Equity Committee

Formed by the MHA Board of Trustees in February 2021, the Health Equity Committee is comprised of 12 health care system leaders with expertise in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Committee members represent a diverse cross-section of Missouri’s idiosyncratic communities and hospitals.

The committee is tasked with steering MHA’s strategic initiatives surrounding health equity promotion, promulgating policies and best practices, and developing assistive research and analytic solutions to assist multisectoral stakeholders with identifying vexing health and social disparities within hyperlocal areas in Missouri.

Data Visualization

Hospital-Specific Dashboards

The Hospital Industry Data Institute provides a series of hospital-specific Determinants of Health Dashboards to enable hospitals to better understand and manage health disparities. Developed in collaboration with stakeholders from MHA’s Strategic Quality and Health Equity committees, and HIDI’s Strategic Advisory Committee, the dashboards — available to HIDI-participating MHA and SLMHC members at no cost — provide hospital-specific insights into the care provided to patient populations through a sociodemographic lens.

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Public-Facing Dashboards

With guidance from the Health Equity Committee and focus groups comprised of subject matter experts from across the state, MHA Quality, Safety and Research staff developed a suite of five health equity-focused dashboards that offer granularity in health outcomes, health factors and social determinants of health for finite population segments and geographic areas in Missouri.

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Health Equity Guidance Document

Hospitals across Missouri are at different phases of health equity engagement. MHA, along with the Health Equity Committee of MHA, published a guide for all hospitals to advance their health equity journeys. It offers consensus-driven standard definitions of several key concepts surrounding health equity and provides case studies from leaders in Missouri. Finally, it offers guidance on measuring health disparities, systems to engage with communities on collaborative approaches to health equity promotion and the important role of anchor institutions.

access the guide

Contact An Expert

Jackie Gatz

Jackie Gatz

Senior Vice President of Quality, Safety and Research

Send Email

573-893-3700 | ext. 1330

Mat Reidhead

Mat Reidhead

Vice President of Research and Analytics

Send Email

573-893-3700 | ext. 1331

Stephen Njenga

Stephen Njenga

Director of Quality Measurement and Population Health Improvement

Send Email

573-893-3700 | ext. 1325

Hospitals Improving Community Health and Well-Being

Improving community health to achieve health equity looks different across the state. MHA featured three Missouri hospitals that are investing in the health of their communities — by addressing generational poverty, building community infrastructure and providing education on SUD treatment. 

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