Health Equity & Inclusion

American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation’s Commitment to Health Equity

Like many organizations across the United States, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and ABIM Foundation are at a turning point, where we move from being “passively non-racist” institutions to committing ourselves to be an “actively anti-racist” influence in health care.

In the tumultuous summer of 2020, we made a public commitment to explore our role in perpetuating —intentionally or not— racial disparities in health care through our Board’s policies and programs.

And while our initial commitment in 2020 focused on racial justice, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy has broadened to bring as many voices to the table as possible, to support the ABIM Foundation’s mission to advance medical professionalism to improve health care.

In an effort to remain transparent and accountable to our community as we do this ongoing work visit to learn what ABIM and the ABIM Foundation have committed to and what we have done thus far to fulfill those commitments.

ABIM Foundation programs addressing DEI

Building Trust & Equity in IM Training Grants

The Building Trust & Equity in IM Training Grants are given in collaboration between ABIM, ABIM Foundation, American College of Physicians (ACP), Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), and the Macy Foundation to physicians and trainees incorporating DEI in internal medicine training programs. Over 170 letters of interest were submitted and dozens of candidates were invited to submit a full proposal for grants to support their work in making their programs more diverse and inclusive. In June 2021, $287,500 was awarded to 32 projects. In 2022, ABIM and the ABIM Foundation have dedicated $400,000 to a second round of Building Trust & Equity in IM Training grants to support programs that build trust in medical training by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. The program continues to partner with the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, the American College of Physicians, and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. The new grants emphasize interprofessional projects that incorporate members from across the care team.

2021 ABIM Foundation Forum: “Pursuing Trust: Striving for Equitable Health Care”

At the 2021 ABIM Foundation Forum, “Pursuing Trust: Striving for Equitable Health Care,” more than 130 clinicians, advocates and other leaders in health care came together to discuss how health care organizations can act to advance DEI and engender trust among their patients, clinicians, staff, and from the communities they serve.

During the Forum, small groups of participants discussed scenarios gathered from the real-life experiences of clinicians. The scenarios and the feedback and solutions collected from participants became the basis of a curriculum that focuses on the role of self- and situational-awareness in building trust and addressing bias in health care. ABIM Foundation has sponsored a proof of concept curriculum that will be easy to implement, have face validity, be attractive to medical training institutions, and align with the Building Trust & Equity in IM Training grants.

Countering Medical Misinformation Grants

ABIM and the ABIM Foundation have prioritized medical misinformation. The Foundation put a call out for proposals to counter misinformation and will award two 2-year grants of $50,000 and $30,000. The winner will present at the 2022 ABIM Foundation Forum on “Fact Or Fiction: Strategies for the Misinformation Age” in August 2022.

John A. Benson, Jr. MD Professionalism Article Prize

Winners of the ABIM Foundation’s 12th annual John A. Benson, Jr. MD Professionalism Article Prize wrote about topics pertinent to DEI. Topics included being black in medicine, depression in medical school, the misplaced labeling of health workers as heroes, and blowing the whistle on misinformation. The ABIM Foundation first awarded the prize in 2011 to celebrate and encourage outstanding contributions to the literature on medical professionalism. Over the past 12 years, 700 articles have been considered for the award, with 46 winning pieces.

Health Equity Leaders Advisory Panel

The ABIM Foundation has convened a small group of health equity leaders to advise on the launch of an initiative to develop a prioritized list of actions and best practices that health care organizations should take to build trust and combat structural racism. The initiative’s goals would be to produce a clear list of actions and policies that organizational leaders (including Boards and C-suite executives) would be called upon to implement to eliminate bias and discrimination in all its forms and to counteract structural racism. In addition, the group plans to develop strategies for dissemination and uptake, including public recognition opportunities and accountability mechanisms, to encourage widespread adoption of the actions. Dr. Ron Wyatt, the Vice President and Patient Safety Officer of MCIC Vermont, chairs the group.

We Got Us Grant

The We Got Us program is a collective of Boston-based Black health care professionals and students dedicated to empowering Black communities through evidence-based tools to make informed health decisions about COVID-19 and vaccinations. In 2021, ABIM Foundation provided a grant to Tri-county community Network on behalf of the We Got Us program.

Leapfrog Group’s Lives & Dollars Lost Calculator Grant

The Leapfrog Group’s Lives & Dollars Lost Calculator helps purchasers, providers, and hospitals recognize harm to vulnerable populations and how that harm wastes resources within their own sphere of responsibility. ABIM Foundation provided a grant for a six-month project to explore the feasibility of expanding the Lives & Dollars Lost Calculator to estimate lives lost and dollars wasted due to racial, ethnic, and language-based disparities in harm from patient safety events.

AFFIRM (American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine) at the Aspen Institute Grant

AFFIRM (American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine) at the Aspen Institute is the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to ending the American firearm injury epidemic using a public health approach. ABIM Foundation provided a grant for AFFIRM to create a “Reframe playbook” that will codify the Reframe program and include extensive materials that can be adapted for various concerns including firearm suicide, firearm domestic violence, firearm community violence, unintentional firearm injury, firearm targeted violence and mass shootings.

DiverseMedicine Inc - Black Men in White Coats Grant

Founded in 2011 to foster diversity in medicine through mentorship and motivation, Dallas-based DiverseMedicine Inc. creates and implements community programs to expose underrepresented students to the field of medicine. The ABIM Foundation provided a grant for DiverseMedicine to evaluate the nationwide impact of its various diversity, equity and inclusion programs, including Black Men in White Coats.

Read more about our DEI efforts