Repeating the Call for Equity in Health CareRobert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., today called on health care leaders to be tenacious in supporting efforts to identify and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Addressing more than 200 national and international experts at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Health Equity Summit in Washington, D.C., Lavizzo-Mourey relayed personal anecdotes of her family’s relationship with the Civil Rights leader and the abiding impression a one-time meeting with him as a young girl made on her. She said current health care leaders must respond to King’s nearly 50-year-old call for social justice and racial equality in order to produce laudable, lasting results for U.S. health and health care.
“Two generations ago Dr. King issued a stinging indictment of the inequalities of the health of Americans. He said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane.’ He was spot-on then—and it’s still spot on today,” said Lavizzo-Mourey. “America cannot reconcile the differences that divide us without also reconciling the inequality and injustice that’s embedded so deeply in the health and health care of our people.”
Lavizzo-Mourey cited examples of just two RWJF-supported programs that are providing needed resources and connections to help improve equity within communities and called on others to commit to similar efforts. Today’s summit was sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural & Minority Medicine as part of a week-long series of events leading up to the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the national mall in Washington, DC., on August 28.