The Albuquerque Statement on Health Equity
Polaris, the North American Young Doctors Movement of WONCA, met in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA in October 2019 and agreed that EQUITY is a core component of healthcare and a major indicator of population health quality. The World Health Organization defines equity as “the absence of avoidable, unfair, or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically or by other means of stratification."
The below statement is a summary of discussion and debate held amongst family medicine trainees and early career family physicians.
The young doctors of Polaris:
Recognize that health equity is directly impacted by discrimination with regards to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability and other factors and these factors are interconnected and must be addressed simultaneously to affect change.
Recognize the direct effects that safe housing, clean water, air quality, and broader environmental justice issues have on health outcomes and that these issues disproportionately affect lower income communities and communities of ethnic minorities.
Recognize that traumatic events, exposure to violence and crime, sexual assault, and abuse contribute to mental and physical health inequities and that upstream measures to prevent these adverse experiences, especially for children, are critical to attain equity.
Recognize that ensuring high quality education for all children and improving general health literacy are necessary tools to improve health equity.
Believe that access to excellent primary care including mental health care and substance abuse treatment are important to create health equity and therefore family physicians should advocate to eliminate financial, geographic, and any other barriers to this care.
Recognize that numerous systematic interventions and policy changes throughout societies and governments are crucial to achieve health equity.
Recognize that advocacy is an essential skill set required by family physicians to improve health equity and that as young family physicians we have a responsibility to speak for those who cannot and to build partnerships to improve health equity across borders.
Assert that all family physicians should recognize health inequity and be able to evaluate contributing factors leading to inequity. We additionally assert that all medical schools and post graduate training programs should offer formal instruction on the principles and evaluation of health equity.
Uphold that equity is vital to achieving health for all communities and therefore that healthcare providers and systems should strive to achieve equity in their practice organizations and care delivery.