AMA External Equity & Innovation Advisory Group

With billions of dollars in annual investments in healthcare startups – $ 10.7 billion in venture capital in 2019 alone1– and with significant resources devoted to innovation in large health care and health-focused technology companies, the health innovation sector has incredible potential to advance health equity.

The estimated total economic gain associated with reducing racial disparities in health is $ 135 billion per year.2

Current models of resource allocation for healthcare innovation, evidence development, solution design and market selection do not integrate an equity lens, failing to realize potential gains and risk exacerbating health, racial and social injustices.

The objective of the WADA External Equity and Innovation Advisory Group is to advise WADA on the strategic approach “Ensuring Equity in Innovation”, one of the five approaches defined in the WADA’s three-year strategic plan dedicated to integrating racial justice and promoting health equity.

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WADA’s Strategic Plan to Integrate Racial Justice and Advance Health Equity

With this strategic approach, WADA is committed to ensuring equitable opportunities and conditions for health innovation for historically marginalized and minority people and communities by following four objectives:

  1. Integrate racial justice and health equity into WADA’s existing health innovation efforts
  2. Center, integrate and amplify patients, innovators and historically marginalized and minority investors in healthcare innovation
  3. Engage in cross-sectoral collaborative and advocacy efforts
  4. Equipping the sector with healthcare innovation to advance equity and justice

Through quarterly meetings and regular communication, the Group provides leadership to the AMA Center for Health Equity management team and other WADA internal equity and innovation stakeholders with leadership informed, expert analysis, strategic advice and support for engagement and communication of external stakeholders.

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How WADA is reshaping its path to racial equity

WADA’s vision is for the U.S. healthcare innovation sector to: (1) prioritize the allocation of resources to launch and scale solutions that significantly advance health, racial justice and social, and (2) race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity of health care investors and innovators reflect that of our nation, in both proportional representation and allocation of resources.

The Equity and Innovation Advisory Group is comprised of external leaders with expertise at the intersection of health equity and health innovation, including in the development, scale and funding of new companies and solutions, investment and payment models, emerging technologies such as AI and digital. health, the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion in the innovation ecosystem, the upstream causes and social determinants of health inequalities, and models for centering patients and marginalized communities in designing solutions.

The Center for Health Equity seeks diversity in membership perspectives and characteristics, including, but not limited to, type of organization and role, geography, generation, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and ability – with a focus on amplifying the voices of historically marginalized and minority innovators, investors, patients and communities.

Members are selected on the basis of their individual expertise and experience, and not as a representative of an institution, association or company.


1 2020 report on investments and exits in the health sector. Accessed April 12, 2021. https://www.svb.com/trends-insights/reports/healthcare-investments-and-exits/2020-annual

2 Turner A. The Business Case for Racial Equity: A Strategy for Growth. W .K. Kellogg Foundation | Altar; 2018. https://www.wkkf.org/resource-directory/resources/2018/07/business-case-for-racial-equity.

Shirlene J. Manley