Office of Health Equity

Leveraging diversity, equity and inclusion to drive the AHA's mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

Young child and father

About the Office of Health Equity

The American Heart Association created the Office of Health Equity in 2018 following an 18-month in depth review by a volunteer-driven task force. The Office of Health Equity houses the following:

  • Our Social Impact Fund, which invests in local entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations that are breaking down the social and economic barriers to healthy lives.
  • The Bernard J. Tyson Fund, which powers the AHA’s goal to reduce health disparities and address social determinants of health so all people have the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives.

We also support our Empowered to Serve™ initiatives which include Empowered Scholars, local and national EmPOWERED to Serve ™Business Accelerator, Interactive Virtual Health Lessons and our Community Innovation Exchange™.

Government Housing
Masked woman standing at the front of a church

EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™
Faith-Based Application Cycle is Open 

Faith-based organizations and places of worship have been on the frontline to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and provide much-needed guidance and support to improve community health.
 
Now the American Heart Association’s Eastern States Region is calling on faith-based organizations to submit their business concepts for an opportunity to receive funding to address urgent community needs. 

EmPOWERED Women Roundtable Series

CPR and Opioid Use in Communities of Color

In honor of Women’s History Month, the American Heart Association hosted the EmPOWERED Women CPR and Opioid Use in Communities of Color roundtable on March 30 at 7 p.m. CDT.

The livestream event focused on CPR, as studies have shown significant disparities in bystander CPR rates for people of color and women, as well as opioid misuse among women of color.

Building Mental Resilience for Women of Color in the Midst of COVID-19

As a part of National Minority Health Month, the American Heart Association will host a panel to discuss how racism, cultural stereotypes, economic insecurity, stigma and shame all impact the mental health of women of color.

This discussion on April 20 at 7 p.m. CDT. will focus on how they suffer disproportionately from adverse life experiences that can lead to depression, anxiety disorders and toxic levels of chronic stress.

Maternal Health Mortality & Why Gaps Exist

In recognition of Hypertension Education Month and Mother’s Day, the American Heart Association will host a roundtable to address maternal health inequities on May 11 at 7 p.m. CDT.

The event will focus on racial disparities in heart-related problems among pregnant and postpartum women in the United States, with Black women having the highest risk of several serious complications.

Committing to equity and a full, healthy life for everyone

The American Heart Association is investing over $230 million in a sweeping effort to ensure equitable health for all. Through research, community solutions and other substantial work, the AHA is addressing barriers to health equity including structural racism, social factors that hurt people’s health and threats to rural health.

Patient and doctor talking

February's  Black History Month Activities

During February, we recognized the legacy of Black Americans who laid the foundation for the activists, health care professionals, social entrepreneurs and everyday heroes — and celebrate Black Americans who are making history every day.

Throughout the month, we highlighted the communities, small businesses, social entrepreneurs and innovators who continue to build a legacy of positive change through our business accelerator, scholarship program and impact investments.

Doctor and Nurse Talking

Select science statements and conference presentations

The American Heart Association is a science-based organization whose core research programs have launched or furthered the work of many of this country’s brightest researchers. We have scientific statements and conference proceedings that address health equity-related issues. Find highlights here.

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Policy Positions

The AHA has published policy positions on many issues related to health equity, including affordable, accessible healthcare, social determinants of health, access to healthy affordable foods, children’s health and others. A full set of our policy positions is here.

COVID-19

The American Heart Association is working with researchers, medical experts, community leaders, businesses, families and more to reduce the impact of the coronavirus. The following are some ways we’re dedicating our resources to make a difference.

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Diversity Leadership Committee

The Diversity Leadership Committee comprises of volunteer leaders who advise the AHA and our Board of Directors on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Take Action

 Help us fight health disparities. Become involved in one of our initiatives today.

Health Ecosystems: Housing Security and Heart Health

The American Heart Association is a national leader in addressing health equity and social determinants of health. Housing security is an essential element of community health and well-being. Studies show that living in lower socio-economic areas is associated with a 30% to 90% higher risk of coronary heart disease, independent of individual characteristics including age  and economic status.

Urban housing in New York City