Advancing Health Equity: Insights from the CMS Health Equity Conference

By: Adrienne Mims, MD MPH

The CMS Health Equity Conference brought together experts, policymakers, and industry changemakers on May 29-30 in Baltimore, MD to delve into critical topics impacting health disparities and equity in healthcare. I recently attended and was inspired by the valuable insights into advancing health equity for marginalized populations that I gained and was motivated by the passionate community ready to break down barriers. The conference agenda covered a wide range of sessions addressing disparities and improving outcomes for underserved populations across various facets of healthcare delivery. While all the sessions provided value, I walked away thinking about two particular sessions 

The first session, Leading the Way on the Journey to Health Equity and Wellness for American Indians/Alaska Natives, highlighted the nine priorities or approaches within the Native American community that are essential for achieving health equity and wellness. These priorities emphasized the importance of respecting Tribal sovereignty, listening to the needs of Tribal communities, and addressing systemic barriers that contribute to disparities in healthcare outcomes. 

The session The Role of Generative AI and Large Language Models in Enhancing Health Equity: Applications, Considerations, and Addressing CMS’ Programmatic Needs explored the role of generative AI in enhancing health equity by addressing data deficits in healthcare, particularly for underrepresented populations. The panel of experts discussed the potential of generative AI in improving healthcare delivery, personalized patient communication, and building inclusive health databases. However, the session also raised concerns about biases in AI models and the risks they pose in perpetuating stereotypes and exacerbating disparities in healthcare access. AI will play a critical role in the future, so it was interesting to see how it can be helpful but also how we need to balance the risks.  

The discussions in both sessions emphasized the importance of prioritizing health equity in all aspects of healthcare delivery. And overall, the conference covered a diverse array of sessions that explored community initiatives, best practices for measuring and reducing health inequities, and strategies aimed at enhancing health equity for older adults and individuals with disabilities. The conference also explored unique approaches, such as dental health and aligning best practices for measuring health inequities across the U.S. healthcare industry. The 2-day event underscored the ongoing efforts to promote inclusivity, diversity, and equity in healthcare delivery and provided the opportunity for attendees to exchange insights, share best practices, and collaborate on meaningful initiatives. I look forward to getting to work to elevate voices of patients in the work I do at Rainmakers.

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Rainmakers Strategic Solutions LLC (Rainmakers) is a certified 8(a), economically disadvantaged woman-owned small consulting firm, founded in 2008 to provide expertise and highly practical solutions in support of the government and commercial sectors. Rainmakers’ principals are respected professionals with demonstrated success for clients facing evolving requirements and constituent needs. We develop, implement, and improve programs by applying insightful methodologies and delivering innovative results that address and simplify complex issues, streamline processes, and reduce costs. We have a genuine focus on achieving and maintaining an impeccable business relationship with our customers and supporting them in their efforts to improve processes. Client satisfaction is our most valuable asset and exceeding our customers’ expectations is our primary goal. For more information about our key cornerstones—excellence, passion, diversity, and knowledge—visit www.rainmakerssolutions.com, call (443) 348-8067, or connect with us on our social media channels:

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