Closing the Gap of Care Inequality for Vulnerable Individuals and Their Communities

February 28, 2023

Activity description 

Achieving health equity, eliminating disparities, and improving health for all is the ideal goal within an organization. Closing the gaps to improve quality of life, health and overall well- being regardless of their socioeconomic, cultural, or educational status, or the level of other social determinants of health is essential in establishing a solid program foundation. This activity will discuss how organizations must build health equity programs into their core business structure and develop strategies that are relevant, actionable, measurable, and based on the latest data, and the significance of an organizational strategy to close the healthy equity gap.

Provided by
This activity is jointly provided by Optum Health Education, UnitedHealth Group and Executives for Health Innovation.

Commercial support
There was no commercial support received for this activity.

Required hardware/software
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Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians, PAs, psychologists, social workers and other health care professionals that have an interest in health equity.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Illustrate how to start a conversation with leadership about approaches to improve health equity within their organization.
  • Identify factors that influence the development of a sustainable health equity strategy within an organization.
  • Determine strategies to measure a health equity program’s maturity and ability to ensure lasting positive outcomes.
  • Assess the steps of health equity program development that are essential to establish a solid program foundation.
Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 
Event starts: 
02/28/2023 - 1:00pm EST
Event ends: 
02/28/2023 - 2:00pm EST

Kevin Larsen, MD (Moderator)
Senior Vice President of Clinical Innovation and Translation

Michael Currie
Senior Vice President & Chief Health Equity Officer
UnitedHealth Group

Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH
The Commonwealth Fund

Lauren Smith, MD, 
Chief Health Equity and Strategy Office
CDC Foundation

About the presenters
Kevin Larsen, MD, is the senior vice president of clinical innovation and translation at Optum. Prior to his current role, Larsen held several leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most recently, he was the senior health IT advisor at the office of the chief technology officer. Before that, he was the director of enterprise strategy and improvement at CMS. He launched and spearheaded the agency transformation in process improvement and human-centered design. He was also a senior advisor at CMS on health IT and health policy for numerous innovation program models.Earlier, Larsen was also the medical director of meaningful use, Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, where he led the development of clinical quality measurement for the meaningful use program.Larsen started his career at Hennepin County Medical Center, where he held several leadership roles, including chief medical informatics officer. He received a degree in biology and chemistry from Concordia College, and his MD from University of Minnesota Medical School.

Michael Currie, senior vice president and chief health equity officer, has led the coordination of health equity efforts across UnitedHealth Group since June of 2010. He is responsible for the development and execution of enterprise efforts, initiatives and interventions to identify health disparities, as well as the enhancement or implementation of programs, services and strategies to address identified health disparities. Currie has held roles in the public and private sectors with responsibilities related to disease prevention, wellness and health benefits, and has spent close to 30 years focused on population health management. He has contributed to numerous articles, publications and podcasts related to health equity and health disparities; been a guest lecturer at public and private organizations, including academic institutions; and continues to serve on various local and national boards and committees focused on addressing barriers to health care and improving health outcomes.

Joseph R. Betancourt, MD, MPH, is the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a national philanthropy engaged in independent research on health and social policy issues. One of the nation’s preeminent leaders in health care, equity, quality, and community health, Betancourt formerly served as the senior vice president for Equity and Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), overseeing the organization’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and community health portfolio, including its Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Disparities Solutions Center, Center for Community Health Improvement, and centers focused on gun violence prevention, community health innovation, immigrant health, and global health. Previously, Betancourt led the Mass General Brigham (MGB) system’s COVID Equity and Community Health response and served as Vice President and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer at MGH, where he helped develop and launch the organization’s Structural Equity Ten-Point Plan and MGB’s United Against Racism Initiative. As director of MGH’s Disparities Solutions Center, which he founded, Betancourt worked to develop the capacity of health care organizations to improve quality, address disparities, and achieve equity. The center’s Disparities Leadership Program worked with more than 350 operating health care systems across the country, providing guidance on how they can improve quality and value in the care of diverse, minority, and vulnerable populations. An author of nearly 80 peer-reviewed articles, Betancourt has served on several Institute of Medicine committees, including the committee that produced the seminal report Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. He is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a board-certified internist, focusing on Spanish-speaking and minority populations. He earned his M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed an internal medicine residency at New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center. Following his residency, he was a member of one of the first classes in the Commonwealth Fund–Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy, where he earned an MPH.

Lauren Smith, MD, MPH, is the chief health equity and strategy officer for the CDC Foundation and a member of the executive team. In this role, Smith brings more than 25 years working at the intersection of health care delivery and management, public policy and public health fields. As chief health equity and strategy officer, Smith partners with the CDC Foundation’s other senior leaders to develop and drive strategic efforts to embed health equity across the full range of the Foundation’s activities with an explicit focus on addressing systemic racism and other structural inequities and their impact on vulnerable populations’ health, wellbeing and resiliency. In addition, she leads activities to build organizational capacity to integrate health equity into the Foundation’s practice, process, action, innovation and organizational performance to elevate the importance of and deepen the Foundation’s health equity impact. Smith also serves as a principal advisor to the board of directors, the CEO and the executive team on the Foundation’s overall strategic opportunities, risks and tradeoffs related to health equity strategy and implementation. Smith joined the Foundation from FSG, one of the world’s leading social impact consulting firms, where she served as co-CEO and led the firm’s U.S. health practice and helped drive the vision and growth of the firm to advance its mission of achieving lasting and equitable social impact. In this role, she partnered with community, social sector, public sector, health care, public health and philanthropy leaders, including in place-based collaborations. Her previous leadership roles have included serving as the medical director and then interim commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the senior strategic advisor for a national innovation and improvement network focused on reducing infant mortality, the national medical director of the Medical Legal Partnership for Children and the medical director of the pediatric inpatient service at Boston Medical Center, where she was on faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. Smith’s experience in federal and state government includes roles as a policy analyst in the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as a W.T. Grant Health Policy Fellow in the office of the Massachusetts Speaker of the House. Smith currently serves on the board of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Social Finance. She has published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature on health equity and the implication of social policies on child and family wellbeing. She has also served on numerous national and state advisory committees focused on public health and health care. Smith holds a BA with honors in biology from Harvard College, an MD from University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, and an MPH from University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. She completed her pediatrics residency and chief residency at Children’s Hospital Boston and her general pediatrics fellowship at Boston Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics.
Activity planners
Rebecca Gleason
Activity Manager
Optum Health Education 

Sarah Chart, RN
Vice President
Optum Health Education 

Disclosures of relevant financial relationships
In accordance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education's (ACCME) Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, Optum Health Education (OHE) requires all those in control of educational content to disclose their financial relationships with ineligible companies within the prior 24 months. Ineligible companies are defined by the ACCME as companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing health care products used by or on patients. Individuals must disclose all financial relationships, regardless of the amount, with ineligible companies and regardless of their view of the relevance of the relationship to the education. OHE ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

The activity faculty or planners have no financial relationships to disclose.

Accreditation statement
Joint Accreditation LogoIn support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Optum Health Education and UnitedHealth Group, Medical and Health & Safety. Optum Health Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the health care team.

Credit designation statements

The participant will be awarded up to 1.00 contact hour(s) of credit for attendance and completion of supplemental materials.

Nurse practitioners
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME and ANCC.

Pharmacists/Pharmacy technicians
This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hours ([0.10] CEU) in states that recognize ACPE.
Attending the full program will earn 1.00 contact hours.
Unique Activity Number(s): JA0007123-9999-23-014-L99-P/T

Optum Health Education designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Optum Health Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. Optum Health Education maintains responsibility for this program. 1.00 CE hour.

Social workers
ACE LogoAs a Jointly Accredited Organization, Optum Health Education is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Optum Health Education maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 1.00 live continuing education credits.

Counselors and/or marriage and family therapists
CA: The Board of Behavioral Sciences has deferred CE course approvals to APA and ASWB for its licensees. See those approvals under Psychologists and Social Workers.
Other States: If your state is not specifically listed, nearly all state Counselor and MFT boards accept either APA or ASWB approval, or are reciprocal with other state licensing board approvals. Check with your board to be sure.

A certificate of attendance will be provided to learners upon completion of activity requirements, enabling participants to register with licensing boards or associations that have not been pre-approved for credits. To apply for credit types not listed above, participants should use the procedure established by the specific organization with which they wish to obtain credit.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
Please log in to register.

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