Quality care is equitable care: a call to action to link quality to achieving health equity within acute care surgery

Lisa M. Knowlton*, Tanya Zakrison, Lillian S. Kao, Marta L. McCrum, Suresh Agarwal, Brandon Bruns, Kathie Ann Joseph, Cherisse Berry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Health equity is defined as the sixth domain of healthcare quality. Understanding health disparities in acute care surgery (defined as trauma surgery, emergency general surgery and surgical critical care) is key to identifying targets that will improve outcomes and ensure delivery of high-quality care within healthcare organizations. Implementing a health equity framework within institutions such that local acute care surgeons can ensure equity is a component of quality is imperative. Recognizing this need, the AAST (American Association for the Surgery of Trauma) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee convened an expert panel entitled 'Quality Care is Equitable Care' at the 81st annual meeting in September 2022 (Chicago, Illinois). Recommendations for introducing health equity metrics within health systems include: (1) capturing patient outcome data including patient experience data by race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, and gender identity; (2) ensuring cultural competency (eg, availability of language services; identifying sources of bias or inequities); (3) prioritizing health literacy; and (4) measuring disease-specific disparities such that targeted interventions are developed and implemented. A stepwise approach is outlined to include health equity as an organizational quality indicator.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001098
JournalTrauma Surgery and Acute Care Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Healthcare disparities
  • Multiple Trauma
  • general surgery
  • quality


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