NICHQ to Develop Evidence-Informed Framework to Improve Equity in Health Systems 

January 21, 2021 

BOSTON – The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) has begun a two-year project to develop an Equity Systems Continuum framework for healthcare systems to address systemic racism and other forms of oppression.

“Our goal is to help organizations identify structural bias in an objective way,” said Senior Project Director Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA. “Is it a savior-designed system, an ally-designed system, or an equity-empowered system?” As NICHQ’s Equity Lead, Dr. Scott will work with the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center (GISS) to detail how the three systems in the framework can be further characterized, described, and refined.

Efforts will focus on refining the Equity Systems Continuum through a maternal and children’s health lens. The project is funded by a $300,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.

“At the Kellogg Foundation, we are focused on achieving positive outcomes in children’s health and well-being,” said Monica Beltran, program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We’re excited that NICHQ’s work will help alleviate systemic, racial inequities—liked maternal morbidity and mortality—of Black and Brown moms interacting with healthcare and public health organizations to ensure babies of color are born alive, healthy and have an opportunity to thrive.”

NICHQ’s role in this project will be multi-faceted. Along with producing a final Equity Systems Continuum Framework to guide systemic change in maternal and child health, NICHQ will develop an Equity Systems Auditing Tool (ESAT) for organizations to audit longstanding policies and practices that contribute to systemic racism and other forms of oppression. An implementation plan will support organizations and health systems to determine where on the Continuum an organization sits and what strategies can be implemented to move within the continuum.

“This is also an opportunity for NICHQ to assess, share, and nurture our own internal progress along the Equity Systems Continuum,” said Scott D. Berns, MPH, FAAP. “We are continually evolving as an organization and want to offer that learning and support to other organizations in children’s health.”

About the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ)
NICHQ is a mission-driven nonprofit dedicated to driving dramatic and sustainable improvements in the complex issues facing children’s health. We are committed to building and managing effective change strategies that align partners and engage stakeholders to achieve better outcomes for children and their families. During the past 20 years, NICHQ has led more than 80 initiatives and reached millions of children and families. NICHQ’s unique approach to improving children’s health care systems gives more families access to care and coordinated services and helps all children achieve better outcomes. NICHQ is deeply committed to health equity and ensuring all children reach their optimal health. For more information, visit

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work, and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit