A Learning and Action Network to Advance Health Equity in Kansas City

The Kansas City Health Equity Learning and Action Network (KC Health Equity LAN) brings together the region’s healthcare ecosystem including hospitals and health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), community-based health centers, physicians, health insurance providers, employers, public health departments and other community-based organizations to collectively engage in a shared journey to address the factors that lead to inequalities in health access, treatment, and outcomes. The effort is a partnership between The Health Forward Foundation, the KC Health Collaborative, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in collaboration with other regional funders and thought leaders. 

Racial and ethnic disparities in health status and health care are well documented. The landmark publication “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care” (Institute of Medicine, 2003) placed the issue of racial and ethnic inequities in health status and health care on the nation’s health policy agenda and called for a comprehensive, multi sector strategy including providers, patients, payors, health plan purchasers and society at large to address the health and social conditions that are barriers to optimal health and well-being.

In the confluence of pervasive inequities highlighted by COVID-19, an economic recession and a national racial reckoning, the need to address inequity and its impact on the health of our community has never been more clear or opportune. The KC Health Equity LAN seeks to bring together the regions healthcare ecosystem to collectively address the factors that lead to inequalities in health access, treatment, and outcomes. By leveraging the collective efforts of our health care and community leadership, this effort will catalyze and sustain equity-centered and culturally responsive health care that yields equitable health outcomes for all. The KC Health Equity LAN will assert a common agenda and approach, and provide training, tools, and expertise to make meaningful changes to systems, policies, and structures to reduce and eliminate disparities in health care delivery and realize measurable improvements in health outcomes – particularly among people impacted by health inequities.