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Published on August 26, 2020

Cone Health Receives AHA’s Highest Honor for Caring for All

The American Hospital Association awards Cone Health for its health care disparity and diversity and inclusion work.

When data revealed that Black women were returning to the hospital with high blood pressure following birth at rates four times greater than white counterparts, Cone Health physicians and clinicians created a pilot project addressing the disparity. For that and other health care equity work, Cone Health is the national recipient of the 2020 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award.Equity of Care Award The award is from the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Institute for Diversity and Health Equity. It recognizes hospitals and health systems for efforts to reduce health care inequities, and advance diversity and inclusion. In addition, Chatham Hospital, Siler City, North Carolina; and Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan, are honorees.

“At Cone Health, we are committed to respecting each other, honoring our differences and creating a true sense of belonging,” says Terry Akin, CEO, Cone Health. “We are committed to making health equity, diversity and inclusion a top organizational priority. As part of that, we promise — every day and in every interaction — to be ‘right here with’ every community we are privileged to serve.”

As part of its health equity work, Cone Health trains providers and board members on health equity practices. Physicians receive training in health equity topics such as unconscious bias training, racial equity training and social and racial influences in health care. “Inequality in health care outcomes has been discussed for generations,” says Alvin Powell, MD, chief health equity officer, Cone Health. “I am pleased to be affiliated with an institution committed to addressing these inequities. Cone Health is leading the way by making health equity a priority, which will impact health care in our communities.”

Cone Health collects race, ethnicity and language preference data to better care for patients and has also integrated screening for social determinants of health into its electronic platform. It is even helping patients with transportation, so they do not miss appointments.

The Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award is an annual recognition of outstanding efforts among hospitals and health care systems to advance equity of care to all patients. The award was renamed the Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award in 2019 in honor of the first African-American and first hospital trustee to chair the AHA Board. Carolyn Boone Lewis was trustee of a safety-net hospital and a tireless advocate for equity in health care.

“The Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award spotlights the hospitals and health systems that understand population health and are taking real action to solve these challenges,” says Rick Pollack, president and CEO, AHA. “We applaud Cone Health and the honorees for their initiative and creativity in making equitable health outcomes central to their work.”

More information about the award is in this video from the AHA.