Digital Health

Celebrating Global Health Equity Week

Two nurses looking at a tablet.

Each year we celebrate Global Health Equity Week, an initiative focused on demonstrating the impact of health information and technology to transform health and eliminate health disparities. Participants are given opportunities to join conversations with global leaders to improve access to healthcare for all communities. 

Members of the Global Health Equity Network Advisory Task Force take actionable steps to support healthy communities during this celebratory week, and more importantly every day throughout the year. If we take a deeper look into seemingly straightforward questions, we can set the foundation for understanding that everyone brings a unique perspective to the table. Understanding this allows us to unify and drive change towards a more equitable, inclusive tomorrow.

Insights from the Global Health Equity Network Advisory Task Force #healthequity

Anjali Bhagra, MD, FACP

Medical Director, Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Mayo Clinic

What does inclusion mean to you?

My vision for inclusion is a global environment of empowered belonging for everyone. It means to have every person be seen, heard, acknowledged and valued. Our systems and societal processes are adapting, opening doors and providing a seat at the table. However, meaningful and sustainable change happens with authentic integration and modeling excellence in inclusion.


Esteban Gershanik, MD, MPH, MSC

Medical Director of Quality, Safety and Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Medical Director, Change Healthcare

How can information and technology better support health equity?

Information and technology can better support health equity by addressing the underlining structural, institutional, and interpersonal root causes that produce our health inequities. Digital access and literacy screening must be performed to better understand and address the reasons for our digital divide, which can  lead to solutions that will bridge the gap. Furthermore, we must identify biased calculations, algorithms, and usability barriers that exacerbate health inequities. A first step to support such efforts is to ensure a diverse group of people is at the table to provide a varied lens for solving these issues. 

What is your vision for health equity?

My vision for health equity is one where it is at the forefront of evaluating a person’s health instead of an afterthought. I envision a future where health equity is an embedded pillar of the quality of care an individual receives, instead of a forgotten one. My hope is that health equity serves to educate and comprehensively evaluate the human condition of an individual and those obstacles impeding optimal quality, safety, and the experience of care one receives. The ultimate goal is for these words and the understanding of health equity to evolve into tangible actions that address the human condition.


Christopher Kunney, CPHIMS, CPHIT, MSMOT

Healthcare Technology and Business Strategist

What is your vision for health equity?

According to the World Health Organization, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". The quality of health and how health is distributed among economic and social status in a society can provide insight into the level of development within that society. Health is a basic human right and human need, and all human rights are interconnected. Thus, health must be discussed along with all other basic human rights.

I believe health equity arises when society turns a blind eye to the root causes of social determinants of health, specifically, inequities in education, political power, wealth and racism. Communities which are fundamentally impacted by these determinants are significantly disadvantaged and face worse health outcomes than those who benefit from them.
A holistic approach is necessary to narrow the Health Equity Gap. This will require a long-term commitment from communities, states and countries who share a collective vision of increasing not only access to quality health care, but also addressing the unique needs of different populations.  Finally, we must focus on eliminating the barriers of cost and other forms of financial hardship while coming to terms with our inherent bias of people who are different than ourselves.  
Health equity has and will always be a moral and economic issue.


Deborah Maufi, MBBS, MBA

Founder, DPM Health Consultancy

What does inclusion mean to you?

Inclusion to me means that we embrace the fact that all humans have more similarities than differences, regardless of how closely we might identify with them. I believe all humans should have equal access and opportunities in all aspects of their private and public life despite whatever differences distinguish us. This also necessitates welcoming dissenting or provocative sentiments and accepting our differences as key ingredients to getting rid of the stigma, discrimination, and other barriers that hinder inclusion. Everyone matters.

How are you supporting healthy communities?

I have a strong conviction that health literacy is a critical element in the empowerment of healthy communities. By improving people’s access to health information through verbal, print, and digital channels, and their capacity to use it effectively, I can help communities improve their health behaviors. Focusing on maternal and neonatal health, as well as innovative solutions for sexual and reproductive health, allows me to convey key information, insights, and education to communities and improve their health-seeking behaviors. Information is liberating and a premise of progress in every society. Therefore, meeting the health literacy needs of disadvantaged and marginalized communities will principally hasten progress towards building healthier communities.


Gregory Bryant

CIO, Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center

How can information and technology better support health equity?

We can use data to see what areas of a health system we should focus on based on what we see from inpatient and emergency room visits.

What does inclusion mean to you?

It means everyone getting an equal shake at a common goal or idea.

How are you supporting healthy communities?

I work with my facility in engaging the community in healthy lifestyle choices and improving food options to ensure better long-term care.


Iris P. Frye, Ph.D., CPHIMS, FHIMSS

Executive Director, CNI Solutions & Fellow, CEO Action for Racial Equity

What is your vision for health equity?

My vision for health equity is to give underserved patients the tools and resources they need to alleviate health inequities and decrease health disparities. As health equity and health disparities are inextricably linked, achieving both is essential to ensuring better health, healthcare, and health outcomes for those who are part of a marginalized community.
I envision a society where equal healthcare becomes the norm, not the exception, and a patient’s zip code, race, gender, class, or sexuality isn’t a factor in their care.
How is this accomplished? The healthcare industry must start listening and seeing the underserved population as people, not objects.


Sam Shah

Chief Medical Strategy Officer, Numan

How can information and technology better support health equity?

The way people access health services, information about their health and most importantly, support on how to stay well and healthy, has irreversibly changed. Digital content, digital channels and social media are just as much part of health access as going to a clinic. Using social marketing through digital channels can help raise awareness, improve targeted messaging and help people navigate the complexity of healthcare. Utilizing technology offers an opportunity to create content using language that reduces stigma and is more sensitive to the needs of those least likely to access healthcare.

Global Health Equity Network

Help advance the cause of health and wellness for everyone, everywhere by advocating for underserved groups in health information and technology around the globe, and collaborate to find real-world solutions to challenges and roadblocks.

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