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July 29, 2016

Applying an Equity Lens: The Difference between Equality and Equity–Part 1

Equality vs. Equity

Many people incorrectly use equality and equity in their conversations by believing that these concepts have the same meaning. This confusion even makes its way into treatment approaches in medical establishments and decision making.  The meanings of equality and equity are different. While subtle, these can determine which resources people receive in society and how these resources are allocated. For Veterans particularly, selecting an approach to improve Veteran’s care from an equality standpoint versus an equity standpoint determines the level of care or support a Veteran receives, the Veteran’s well-being, and whether the Veteran achieves optimal health.

A quick search of the internet can provide various definitions for equality and equity; the subtle and important differences in these concepts; and depictions to help the most novice person distinguish between equality and equity. For the last point, the Office of Health Equity developed the Applying an Equity Lens depiction based on similar renderings. Our goal is to be Veteran-centric in order to champion and raise awareness of health equity issues among Veterans, VHA staff, and stakeholders.

Read the entire blog post online at http://www.va.gov/HEALTHEQUITY/Applying_an_Equity_Lens.asp#differencesp1.

Assess Whether Health Equity is a Priority at Your Facility using the Office of Health Equity-developed Competing on Health Equity – Organizational Assessment

One goal of the VHA Health Equity Action Plan is to strengthen and broaden leadership to address health disparities throughout the VA. Our new tool, the Competing on Health Equity – Organization Assessment, can help you consider if your organization (e.g., the facility where you receive care or the section in which your work) makes health equity a priority. The Assessment was developed by Harry L. Leider, MD, MBA and was modified for OHE use under appropriate permission.

Download a copy of the Competing on Health Equity – Organizational Assessment today.

Commission on Care Chairwoman Discusses Veteran Health Equity and the VHA Health Equity Action Plan

Commission on Care Cover

The Commission on Care Chairwoman in a recent interview discusses Veteran health equity and the VHA Health Equity Action Plan. The Commission released its final report on June 30, 2016. Included in the 18 recommendations is a call for the elimination of health disparities. The Commission makes the following recommendation:

Recommendation #5 – Eliminate health care disparities among veterans treated in the VHA Care System by committing adequate personnel and monetary resources to address the causes of the problem and ensuring the VHA Health Equity Action Plan is fully implemented.

  • VHA work to eliminate health disparities by establishing health care equity as a strategic priority.
  • VHA provide the Office of Health Equity adequate resources and level of authority to successfully build cultural and military competence among all VHA Care System providers and employees.
  • VHA ensure that the Health Equity Action Plan is fully implemented with adequate staffing, resources, and support. 
  • VHA increase the availability, quality, and use of race, ethnicity, and language data to improve the health of minority veterans and other vulnerable veteran populations with strong surveillance systems that monitor trends in health status, patient satisfaction, and quality measures.

Visit http://federalnewsradio.com/federal-drive/2016/07/nancy-schlichting-how-the-va-can-improve-health-care-delivery/ for the full interview with Commission on Care Chairwoman Nancy Schlichting. The discussion of VA Health Equity Action Plan begins at the 05:30 mark. 

The full Commission on Care report can be downloaded at https://commissiononcare.sites.usa.gov/files/2016/07/Commission-on-Care_Final-Report_063016_FOR-WEB.pdf.

The statement by Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the Commission on Care report is available at http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2800.

August 2016 AJPH Editor-in-Chief Podcast mentions Office of Health Equity-Led Editorial, “Repeated Concussions: Time to Spur Action Among Vulnerable Veterans”

The Office of Health Equity led editorial in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) was recently highlighted in a podcast by the AJPH editor-in-chief. The editorial calls for increased attention to traumatic brain injury, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and health disparities related to the condition; and it was featured as part of a recent Focus on Health Equity and Action Cyberseminar.

Listen to the podcast by visiting http://ajph.aphapublications.org/sda/1151/2016-August_English.mp3. Discussion of the OHE-led editorial begins at the 02:28 mark.

The article can be downloaded at the link contained in the following citation: