Building Trust in Health Systems to Eliminate Health Disparities

“Health systems play a vital role in enhancing the health of the communities they serve, including historically underserved populations with disparate health outcomes. Eliminating health disparities is a critical aspect of enhancing population health that requires collaborative input from multiple entities including health systems, government agencies, community organizations, and residents. A lack of clarity among contributing entities about the roles and responsibilities of health systems in addressing root causes of health disparities make the challenging goal of eliminating them even more so. This raises questions in communities served about the extent to which health systems are truly committed to advancing health. The resulting tension compounds the historic lack of trust between health systems and underserved communities and undermines collaborative work toward mutually beneficial outcomes of improved health. Health system leaders need to lead in addressing this tension by building and sustaining trust with and for their communities.”

In this editorial from Jama Network’s Trust in Healthcare, the authors suggest that in order to address complex social problems, health system leaders will need to build trustworthy and lasting relationships with community institutions. Read the full article here.