The Nexus of Health Equity

While inherent biomedical differences exist among varying groups, many factors such as education, the built environment, health and healthcare, economic stability, social and community context, and individual and systemic biases make significant contributions to patient and population health.  These factors can undermine health equity for patients and populations and among a diverse health and healthcare workforce.  This leads to health disparities, or the systematic differences in the health status of different populations.  Such disparities also undermine the Quadruple Aim to enhance patient experience, improve population health, reduce costs, and improve the work life of health care providers

The Nexus of Health Equity Track focuses on how interprofessional practice and education are uniquely positioned to address unjust disparities in health outcomes.  The emphasis of this session is not on equality where everyone receives the same resources or opportunities; rather, it focuses on equity to ensure recognition of different circumstances by allocating the necessary resources and opportunities to reach equal outcomes.   This Track is associated with the October 5 Nexus Summit plenary, “Putting DEI Into Action: Lessons from Denver Health”. Additionally, 2 seminars, 17 lightning talks, 3 professional posters, and 1 student poster will address health equity by elucidating individual and systemic biases, social determinants of health (SDOH), and other novel approaches to improving health equity.


  • Identifying & Remediating Individual and Systemic Biases
    • Biases between/among educators/students and providers/patients
    • Behaviors that express/perpetuate biases (e.g., microaggressions, macroaggressions, “isms”)
  • Addressing & Mitigating Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)
    • education, the built environment, health and healthcare, economic stability, social and community context
  • Novel Approaches to Advancing Health Equity


Learning objectives:

By participating in the Nexus of Health Equity Track, attendees will be able to:

  • Define and explain the concepts of health equity and health disparities (health inequity);
  • Understand how specific factors (individual and systemic biases and social determinants of health,) contribute to health disparities;
  • Identify individual and systemic biases and how they are expressed (e.g., microaggressions, clinical algorithms);
  • Discuss the impact of individual and systemic biases on education, practice, and health outcomes and actions for remediation;
  • Articulate ways health equity content can be integrated into interprofessional curriculum; and
  • Explain how improving health equity through interprofessional practice and education contributes to the Quadruple Aim.

Reflective Questions:

  1. What ground rules might have to be set to establish psychological safety for discussions related to health equity?
  2. What one individual bias might you have to overcome to promote health equity?  What one bias needs to be addressed in your institution to promote health equity?
  3. How might you establish and support a shared vision for health equity among students, faculty, and/or practitioners?
  4. What are key social determinants of health in your community that you might address through IPE or IPP?  How?  Are there community organizations with which you might partner?


Suggested Resources:

  • Bradley, K. J., Wros, P., Bookman, N., Mathews, L. R., Voss, H., Ostrogorsky, T. L., & LaForge, K. (2018). The Interprofessional Care Access Network (I-CAN): achieving client health outcomes by addressing social determinants in the community. Journal of Interprofessional Care.  DOI: 10.1080/13561820.2018.1560246
  • Marmot M., Friel S., Bell R., Houweling, T.A., Taylor, S. & Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. The Lancet, 372(9650), 1661–1669.
  • Peek, Monica E. MD, MPH, MS; Vela, Monica B. MD; Chin, Marshall H. MD, MPH Practical Lessons for Teaching About Race and Racism: Successfully Leading Free, Frank, and Fearless Discussions, Academic Medicine: December 2020 - Volume 95 - Issue 12S - p S139-S144 DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003710
  • Wilkerson, I. (2020). America’s enduring caste system. The New York Times Magazine, 26-33.