Diverse group of toddlers

Equity at NICHQ

Join NICHQ on Our Equity Journey

What is Health Equity? Criteria from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:i
  1. Does it reflect a commitment to fair and just practices across all sectors of society?
  2. Is it sufficiently unambiguous and concrete that it can guide policy priorities?
  3. Is it actionable?
  4. Is it conceptually and technically sound, and consistent with current scientific knowledge?
  5. Is it possible to operationalize for the purpose of measurement, which is essential for accountability?
  6. Is it respectful of the groups of particular concern, not only defining the challenges they face but also affirming their strengths?
  7. Does it resonate with widely held values in order to garner and sustain broad support?
  8. Is it clear, simple, intuitive, and compelling without sacrificing the other criteria, in order to create and sustain political will?

Health in the U.S. is not equitable. Not everyone has access to healthcare, especially healthcare that is culturally relevant and free from bias. Because not everyone has equal opportunity to access the resources needed for health and well-being, disparities are pervasive from the earliest years of life.   

The National Institute for Children's Health Quality's vision is to create a world where “every child achieves their optimal health.” A commitment to optimal health does not guarantee children the same outcomes, but every child deserves informed care from professionals who are compassionate, open to learning, and dedicated to providing culturally competent, high-quality care.

Many of NICHQ’s projects aim to achieve health equity in their target communities. NICHQ defines health equity as the state in which everyone in a population can attain their full health potential, and no one is disadvantaged because of social position or any other socially defined determinant of health, such as race, ethnicity, income, educational level, and housing.

While personal definitions of health equity will vary, checking your definition against the criteria set forth in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s report on health equity will help ensure you’re starting from a similar foundation as other stakeholders, which can spark collective action. 

Black pregnant person with long locs tucked behind her ear sits next to another Black person in orange shirt with long locs talking to Black doctor with short hair and glasses

The new department will be led by NICHQ VP of Health Equity Innovation Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA. Read more about plans for the department.

Read More

NICHQ Department of Health Equity Innovation

The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) recently launched a new Department of Health Equity Innovation with the goal of accelerating strategies that address systemic health inequities.

Some of the ongoing work the Health Equity Innovation Department will support is the Equity Systems Audit Tool, co-created by NICHQ and the Global Infant Safe Sleep (GISS) Center to assess implicit and explicit bias in healthcare systems. The department will also support internal equity engagement and support existing projects to ensure they are effectively incorporating equity.

Black woman doctor with baby

NICHQ Equity Projects and Initiatives

We recognize that tackling racism and other forms of oppression must go beyond interventions at an individual level. Truly equitable health systems advance equity of historically marginalized groups. Health systems must purposefully reconstruct their systems to be rooted in equity.

To begin pinpointing racism, discrimination, and injustice within the health system and healthcare-related organizations, the Global Infant Safe Sleep (GISS) Center created the Equity Systems Continuum (ESC) a conceptual framework and is now working in conjunction with the National Institute of Children's Health Quality (NICHQ) to develop the Equity Systems Audit Tool (ESAT). The ESAT will assist in helping organizations identify where they fall on the systems continuum.

The identified systems are listed below: 

  • Supremist-Designed System
  • Savior-Designed System
  • Ally-Designed System
  • Equity-Empowered System  

The project is funded through a planning grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“In our deep organizational work to move along the Equity Systems Continuum from a Savior-Designed System to an Equity-Empowered System, we acknowledge the power of action. The potential is limitless for today’s commitments to improve the systems in which health care and public health professionals work and families receive care,” said Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, Executive Project Director and Equity Lead at NICHQ.

Meet Our Equity Team

Face of person against gray backgroundStacy Scott, PhD, MPA, VP, Health Equity Innovation
[email protected] 

Face of person against gray backgroundBecky Russell, MSPH, VP, Department of Applied Research and Evaluation
[email protected]

Face of person against gray backgroundDana West, PhD, Associate Project Director of Equity
[email protected] 

Face of person against gray backgroundSandra Widland, MPH, Associate Project Director
[email protected]