Informing the American Academy of family Physician's Health Equity strategy – an environmental scan using the Delphi technique

Kevin A. Kovach, Cory B. Lutgen, Elisabeth F. Callen, Christina M. Hester
2019 International Journal for Equity in Health  
Many organizations have prioritized health equity and the social determinants of health (SDoH). These organizations need information to inform their planning, but, relatively few quantifiable measures exist. This study was conducted as an environmental scan to inform the American Academy of Family Physician's (AAFP's) health equity strategy. The objectives of the study were to identify and prioritize a comprehensive list of strategies in four focus areas: health equity leadership, policy,
more » ... ship, policy, research, and diversity. Methods: A Delphi study was used to identify and prioritize the most important strategies for reducing health inequities among the four aforementioned focus areas. Health equity experts were purposefully sampled. Data were collected in three rounds for each focus area separately. A comprehensive list of strategy statements was identified for each focus area in round one. The strategy statements were prioritized in round two and reprioritized in a final third round. Quantitative and qualitative data were integrated for the final analysis. Results: Fifty strategies were identified across the four focus areas. Commitment to health equity, knowledge of health inequities, and knowledge of effective strategies to address the drivers of health inequities were ranked the highest for leadership. Universal access to health care and health in all policies were ranked highest for policy. Multi-level interventions, the effect of policy, governance, and politics, and translating and disseminating health equity interventions into practice were ranked the highest for research. Providing financial support to students from minority or low-socioeconomic backgrounds, commitment from undergraduate and medical school leadership for educational equity, providing opportunities for students from minority or low-socioeconomic backgrounds to prepare for standardized tests, and equitable primary and secondary school funding were ranked highest for diversity. Conclusions: The AAFP and other medical specialty societies have an important opportunity to advance health equity. They should develop a health equity policy agenda, equip physicians and other stakeholders, use their connections with practice-based research networks to identify and translate practical solutions to address the SDoH, and advocate for a more diverse medical workforce. Trial registration: Not applicable.
doi:10.1186/s12939-019-1007-1 fatcat:qi567yrs4fds7mqglv665rtgce