What is Health Equity? 

Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Health equity is achieved when all people can attain their highest level of health and wellbeing. Health equity is “assurance of the conditions for optimal health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing all individuals and populations equally, recognizing and rectifying historical injustice, and providing resources according to need.” – Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD 

Our Commitment to Health Equity 

The MMA is committed to advancing health equity and confronting systemic racism. In pursuit of our mission to make Minnesota the healthiest state and best place to practice, this commitment is strategically embedded in our organization, with “improved health equity” as a key outcome in our strategic map. Our work to improve health equity is based off three primary areas of focus. They include:

  1. Diversifying the physician workforce;
  2. Addressing social drivers of health and;
  3. Changing the culture of medicine. 

Diversifying the Minnesota Physician Workforce 

Early education mentorship and science exposure opportunities to increase the number of Black men and other backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. 

 Identifying and eliminating racism and structural and institutional attributes in physician training. 

 Changing the Face of Medicine (MMA Foundation Fund) 

  • A dedicated fund to support initiatives that tear down the barriers that stand in the way of too many whose dream is to become a physician.    
  • The fund will support timely initiatives that show promise to diversify the physician workforce. The first priority is to offer grants to pay MCAT fees for students who come from Black, Indigenous, and other backgrounds underrepresented in medicine.

Addressing Social Drivers of Health

Housing is Health: The MMA is working on ways for the medical community to address the issue of homelessness and housing insecurity.  

Racism and Policing:  The MMA Board of Trustees directed the MMA Public Health Committee to examine the issue of police brutality and related trauma.  

Changing the Culture of Medicine

Inclusive Communications Guide

Language has power, and words can either promote a culture of respect and inclusion or perpetuate harm. The MMA developed the Inclusive Communications Guide for Language that Promotes Equity to enable more inclusive communication by providing suggested language, guidance, and explanatory context. This document provides definitions for commonly used words in health equity discourse, identifies harmful words and offers equity-centered alternatives, clarifies subtle differences between seemingly synonymous terms, and explains how certain words perpetuate racist narratives while others promote racial justice. It aims to raise awareness and encourage users to think critically about the words they use, the meaning conveyed, and the potential impact.

Racism in Medicine: Truths from Minnesota Physicians

This initiative arose from the call to address the harmful effects of racism, microaggressions, and implicit bias on physicians from marginalized groups and communities. Research suggests that these types of discrimination are associated with negative implications for physicians relating to career advancement and satisfaction, physical and mental health, well-being, and burnout.

Through a series of video interviews, the MMA curated personal stories from physicians from marginalized groups with the goal of centering their perspectives, building appreciation for their experiences, and fostering understanding of the issues facing Minnesota medicine.

On July 25, 2023 we will be hosting a 90 minute symposium to showcase the video series and hear from a panel of the physician leaders who we interviewed. This will be an opportunity to discuss emergent issues relating to racism in medicine and uplift a call to action.

Click Here to view the video series and for event information.

The Minnesota Health Equity Community of Practice (CoP):

The CoP is a peer network dedicated to advancing health equity and addressing the significant racial and ethnic health disparities that persist throughout our state. The CoP brings together health equity leaders and professionals from around Minnesota to exchange expertise, resources, and ideas. It provides an opportunity for cross-organizational communication, collaboration, and collective action in support of health equity. For more information about joining, please contact Haley Brickner, health equity coordinator. 

Implicit Bias Training:

Research suggests that implicit biases contribute to health disparities by affecting patient relationships and care decisions. To address implicit bias in support of health equity, we have developed resources for physicians and other healthcare providers. These resources allow participants to examine implicit bias in healthcare settings, understand how it contributes to health disparities, and learn practical strategies for mitigating the effects. Visit our Implicit Bias Education page for on-demand learning modules, live learning events, or to book an implicit bias workshop for your organization. 

Conversations on Race & Equity (CORE)

CORE is a series of safe and respectful virtual space for physicians to discuss anti-racism, implicit bias, cultural humility, and other topics related to health equity. Each session is a 1-hour facilitated dialogue based on curated content, providing a forum for critical reflection on these issues. Participants will be equipped with the tools to continue these conversations and work toward making Minnesota health care an inclusive environment for all. For more information and to register, please visit our Conversations on Race & Equity page

Historical Inquiry for Reconciliation

The MMA recently completed a historical inquiry to identify, understand, and address past injustices perpetrated by our organization. This was a component of our efforts to dismantle structural racism, by acknowledging wrongs that have been done. This work helped to promote acknowledgement of problematic moments and trends in the history of the MMA, but in addition to looking back, it also helped to inform our commitment to creating change going forward. We released a special Health Equity issue, which includes the full report on the findings of the inquiry.  

Have a question about the MMA’s health equity efforts?

Contact Us

MMA's Inclusive Communications Guide

Download here

Racism in Medicine: Truths from Minnesota Physicians

Video series and symposium registration now available!

Learn more here