Office of Health Equity

Leveraging diversity, equity and inclusion to drive the AHA's mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

Young child and father

About the Office of Health Equity

The American Heart Association created the Office of Health Equity in 2018 following an 18-month in depth review by a volunteer-driven task force. The Office of Health Equity houses the following:

  • Our Social Impact Fund, which invests in local entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations that are breaking down the social and economic barriers to healthy lives.
  • The Bernard J. Tyson Fund, which powers the AHA’s goal to reduce health disparities and address social determinants of health so all people have the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives.

We also support our Empowered to Serve™ initiatives which include Empowered Scholars, local and national EmPOWERED to Serve ™Business Accelerator, Interactive Virtual Health Lessons and our Community Innovation Exchange™.

Government Housing

Congratulations to our 2021 national Business Accelerator grant recipients:

Our EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is making a health impact through grant funding and training of diverse social entrepreneurs who address food insecurity, transportation, health care access, science-technology-engineering-mathematics training , youth education and more.

Scholarship and Mentoring Opportunities 

EmPOWERED Scholars

EmPOWERED to Serve™ offers college scholarships to students who are passionate about public health, health equity and community engagement, especially those in communities with fewer resources to help students manage financial aid and debt. Currently enrolled freshmen, sophomores and juniors in a U.S. college or university who are working to improve community well-being and have a 2.0 GPA or higher are eligible to apply.

HBCU Scholars Program

The AHA partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help students working toward professional degrees in the biomedical and health sciences. HBCU Scholars learn about the health of their communities, participate in research projects and explore varied career paths. Currently enrolled Black or African sophomores, juniors and seniors at select HBCUs who are highly motivated to seek careers in biomedical or health sciences and have a 3.2 GPA in the sciences are eligible to apply.

HSI Scholars Program

The AHA partners with Hispanic Serving Institutions of Higher Education and their students to create a pipeline for diverse researchers and health care professionals. Scholars are provided academic and career-enriching resources, including scholarships and mentoring. Currently enrolled sophomores, juniors and seniors at select HSIs who are highly motivated to seek careers in biomedical or health sciences and have a 3.0 GPA in the sciences are eligible to apply.

Health Equity in the Workplace

The American Heart Association’s CEO Roundtable is working to eliminate workplace inequities that harm the health and well-being of employees, businesses and communities. The Roundtable’s new report, developed by business leaders and health experts, provides actionable strategies and principles employers can use to build toward health equity.

group of diverse people in a work environment posing for photo while smiling

Committing to equity and a full, healthy life for everyone

The American Heart Association is investing over $230 million in a sweeping effort to ensure equitable health for all. Through research, community solutions and other substantial work, the AHA is addressing barriers to health equity including structural racism, social factors that hurt people’s health and threats to rural health.

Patient and doctor talking

Position Statements

The American Heart Association issues statements and advisories on health equity, social justice and structural racism. Here are some of our recent position statements.

Select science statements and conference presentations

The American Heart Association is a science-based organization whose core research programs have launched or furthered the work of many of this country’s brightest researchers. We have scientific statements and conference proceedings that address health equity-related issues. Find highlights here.

Young man at a meeting

Policy Positions

The AHA has published policy positions on many issues related to health equity, including affordable, accessible healthcare, social determinants of health, access to healthy affordable foods, children’s health and others. A full set of our policy positions is here.

COVID-19

The American Heart Association is working with researchers, medical experts, community leaders, businesses, families and more to reduce the impact of the coronavirus. The following are some ways we’re dedicating our resources to make a difference.

Image of COVID Viruse

Diversity Leadership Committee

The Diversity Leadership Committee comprises of volunteer leaders who advise the AHA and our Board of Directors on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Take Action

 Help us fight health disparities. Become involved in one of our initiatives today.

Health Ecosystems: Housing Security and Heart Health

The American Heart Association is a national leader in addressing health equity and social determinants of health. Housing security is an essential element of community health and well-being. Studies show that living in lower socio-economic areas is associated with a 30% to 90% higher risk of coronary heart disease, independent of individual characteristics including age  and economic status.

Urban housing in New York City