Equity in Care is Quality Health Care
April 23, 2012

This month was National Minority Health month and most visitors to this site may already know this. What most may not know is that Booker T. Washington started National Negro Health Week in 1915 and it was the descendant of today’s National Minority Health month. Booker T. Washington understood then what we are starting to better appreciate today: better health is about wellness and prevention and minorities have worse health care outcomes than non-minorities. Providing equitable care is at the heart of what we do at Truman Medical Center.It should be what we do as a nation.

As CEO of Truman, I take pride in the fact that equity in care is not only a priority but something we can showcase to the community we serve. We promote wellness in the community and work very hard to improve their overall living conditions that play such a vital role in their health. From better nutrition to violence these are all things that factor into one’s health. They are also challenges that many would shirk from.  Outside the walls of the hospital problems can seem more daunting, but it is here that hospitals can make an impact.
I currently serve on the board of the American Hospital Association and have had the honor to serve on several national organizations. I have seen firsthand how as a nation we are starting to understand and embrace disparities in care, vulnerable populations and the need for greater diversity. However, as long as gaps in care exist and until all hospitals reflect the community they serve, we will have more work to do.

Today, Truman was honored with the Booker T. Washington award that recognizes an organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of wellness in emerging populations by the National Minority Quality Forum. I am naturally thrilled and so proud of my team and the recognition bestowed for their hard work. Today’s event highlights what it will take to achieve results.On the ground and the community level hospitals must tackle health issues that impact the community not just treat patients who come through their doors. National organizations must help by using their resources to identify high-performing organizations and spread the word about what they have learned – their successes and even missteps along the way.

Progress is being made and I can attest that it can be done, but improvement is a journey. We can no longer silo ourselves and instead must learn to communicate and share.Passivity will not eliminate health care disparities or promote diversity. The time for action is upon us and we must embrace equitable care as part of everything we do.

John W. Bluford, MBA, FACHE

by John W. Bluford, MBA, FACHE
Truman Medical Centers (city state)
Immediate Past Chairman of the American Hospital Association


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