Advancing Health Equity Education Series

The U.S. demographic profiles illustrate ours as a nation rich in cultural and racial diversity. To effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of individuals with diverse backgrounds, there is a need for cultural awareness and sensitivity. Achieving health equity refers to the elimination of health-related disparities across different populations as associated with access to care, utilization of care, presence of disease and health outcomes. Health inequities may include differences among populations of different races, religions, nationalities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, genders, ages and other cultural factors.

Health equity means helping people be the healthiest they can be by addressing identified health disparities. Recognizing and accepting those differences—as well as understanding their effect on individuals’ values, learning, and behavior—gives health care professionals (HCPs) the ability to give the best care to individuals with diverse values, beliefs, and behaviors.

This activity will provide an overview of the fundamentals of health equity and present ways in which HCPs can apply the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to most effectively tailor health care delivery to all.

This course consists of two overview modules (Learning the Fundamentals Part I & II) and four optional case studies. Please note this content is for instructional purposes and that there are many variations in each culture.

Case study material is original to Achieving Cultural Competency: A Case‐Based Approach to Training Health Profession. Used with permission for educational purposes with providers and clinicians. Such educational content will not be copied or further distributed outside of the described educational purposes.

You must be logged into your account to participate in this course. Once logged in, please click "CONTINUE" to proceed through the Pre-Activity Assessment, learning modules, Post-Activity Assessment and the evaluation. You may start, stop and resume each module at any time. Please use the bottom arrows to progress forward through the modules.

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Provided by
This activity is provided by OptumHealth Education and UnitedHealthcare.

Commercial support
No commercial support was received for this activity.

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Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of case managers, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, PAs, physicians, social workers and other HCPs who are interested in advancing health equity.

Learning Objectives

Following this educational series, participants should be better able to:

  • Discuss literature supporting the need to address health disparities among populations in the U.S.
  • Explain the development and the utility of the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS standards).
  • Identify health disparities and their causes.
  • Define cultural competency.
  • List the concepts of cross-cultural communication.
  • Understand the impact of health literacy and how to work with patients who are of limited English proficiency (LEP).
  • State the impact of cultural sensitivity in a health care setting through case study examples.

Additional Information

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Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 3.50 ACPE - Pharmacist
  • 3.50 ACPE - Pharmacy Technician
  • 3.50 AMA
  • 3.50 ANCC
  • 3.50 APA
  • 3.50 Attendance
  • 3.50 CCMC - General
  • 3.50 ASWB
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 

Case study material is original to Achieving Cultural Competency: A Case‐Based Approach to Training Health Profession. Used with permission for educational purposes with providers and clinicians. Such educational content will not be copied or further distributed outside of the described educational purposes.

About the Faculty

Adam Aponte, MD, MSc, FAAP, graduated from the City College of New York and then attended Mount Sinai School of Medicine (SOM) where he received both his medical degree and completed residency training in pediatrics. He became board certified in pediatrics in 1997 and began working with the Children’s Aid Society. In May 2000, he was appointed chair of pediatrics for North General Hospital. There he formalized and created the ambulatory care department and was appointed chair.

His clinical efforts have been focused on elimination of health disparities, particularly in minority and underserved communities, as well as addressing the social determinants of health. In 2008, he was recruited as medical director for a federally qualified health center (FQHC) serving an extremely underserved community in Brownsville Brooklyn. There he implemented an electronic health record, helped develop a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and gained accreditation as a Level III PCMH. In addition, he helped them gain recognition from National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its diabetes program.

In November 2015, Dr. Aponte was appointed medical director for United Healthcare Community Plan for New York State (NYS) where he worked to help serve the over 750,000 Medicaid recipients they service in NYS. In July of 2019, Dr. Aponte was named chief medical officer for the Community Care division at NYC Health and Hospitals. In this position, Dr. Aponte will oversee the care provided to patients in the community, including skilled nursing services; physical, occupational and speech therapy; nutrition-focused social work; a maternal/child program for high-risk moms; health home services; and a telephonic chronic-disease-management program.

Academically, Dr. Aponte served as the associate director for recruitment and retention at Mount Sinai SOM from 1998 until 2010, where he was responsible for the recruitment and retention of minority medical students. From October 2010 to December 2017, he served as assistant dean for diversity and inclusion at the newly created Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and was responsible for the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body to the medical school. Dr. Aponte focused on increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce and feels strongly that having a diverse staff will help address many health disparities witnessed in underserved and minority communities.

In 2005, Dr. Aponte was named one of Crain’s New York Business magazine’s “40 under 40” rising stars and in 2009 he was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame and was awarded the “Brillante” award not only for his accomplishments but also for his ability to overcome significant obstacles on his personal road to success. The National Hispanic Health Foundation recognized him in 2017 for his contributions to Latinos in medicine.

Dr. Aponte is passionate about giving back to his community and serving as a role model and mentor to underrepresented youth.

U. Michael Currie has led the UHG Health Equity Services Program since its establishment in June of 2010 and is responsible for the development and coordination of enterprise efforts, initiatives and interventions to identify health disparities, as well as the enhancement or implementation of programs and services to address identified health disparities. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Michael was a Major Accounts Manager at CareFirst BCBS, managing CareFirst’s largest block of public sector business. He has held roles in both the public and private sectors with responsibilities related to disease prevention, wellness and health benefits, and has spent close to 30 years educationally and professionally focused on population health management. Michael completed his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College, received his MPH from George Washington University and his MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and continues to serve on various local and national boards and committees.

Jacqueline Stiff, MD, MSPH, is Vice President, Health Care Strategies, UnitedHealthcare National Accounts. Dr. Jacqueline Stiff provides clinical consultation and support to UnitedHealthcare’s large national self-funded  customers. In this role, she is responsible for advancing the affordability of each customer’s health care benefits through consultative deployment of UnitedHealth Group’s full range of capabilities including clinical solutions. She works with a wide variety of customers ranging from manufacturing, financial, airline, technology, healthcare systems, as well as the retail industry in developing clinical solutions. 

Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare, Dr. Stiff’s previous roles included Medical Director CIGNA Healthcare Colorado; Health Officer for the City of Pasadena; various leadership positions for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, including Medical Director of Los Angeles County’s Medicaid managed care plan.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University, received her medical degree from Columbia University and completed pediatric residency training at the University of California, Los Angeles. Additionally, she completed the UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and received a Master’s of Science in Public Health, and is Board Certified in both General Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics.
Dr. Stiff represents National Accounts in the enterprise-wide clinical efforts  designed to promote health equity by reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.

Dr. Stiff volunteers for the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s  “Foundations of Doctoring” communication course as well as the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work and the Environment.

Robert L Waterhouse Jr., MD, MBA, HSM, grew up and finished high school in Newport News, Virginia. He pursued his undergraduate and medical education at Northwestern University in the Honors Program in Medical Education. He began his urology training with the Case Western University Hospitals of Cleveland for both urology residency and fellowship. After finishing training, he began an academic career path with the Urology Department at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He developed expertise in minimally invasive urologic surgery and the management of urologic cancer, especially prostate cancer, while on the faculty as Assistant Professor and Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery from 1991 to 1999. He also was the Urology Department director of Quality, Co-Chairman of the Residency Committees for Education and Resident Evaluation, faculty director for a medical student course elective in Cultural Diversity, and instructor in Renal Physiology.

He elected to leave Mount Sinai in 1999 to start a private practice of urology as one of the founding physicians of Piedmont Urology in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area. 

He was the President and managing partner from its onset through 2011 until the practice merged with seven other regional urology groups to form a large urology group of over 30 urologists named Carolina Urology Partners. As one of the group’s leaders, he sought additional management education and pursued both an MBA and Health Sector Management specialization from Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. From 2015 through 2017, he was the Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer for Carolina Urology Partners with responsibilities that included development and implementation of best practice pathways and enforcement of protocols and clinical practice to foster quality and patient safety. In an additional role, he led the organization's participation in clinical research as principal investigator in numerous clinical research trials, especially as related to oncology and prostate cancer. Nationally, he continues leadership roles as in the National Medical Association and its associated R. Frank Jones Urology Section Executive Committee and the American Urology Association and its Public Policy Council. He continues to publish in scientific journals and present at national meetings.

In 2017, as he became increasingly interested in health care leadership and population health, he left the clinical practice of urology and pursued a career in his current role as the Chief Medical Officer for UnitedHealthcare in North Carolina, with responsibilities to engage the NC network of providers and hospitals, while promoting methods to improve quality and outcomes. These duties include of analysis of state wide health care utilization and cost, with a focus on determination of opportunities to drive improvement and innovation. These goals are facilitated through work with provider partners in value-based relationships and through evaluations of health care transitions from acute to post acute settings and throughout the clinical continuum. He is, also, the UnitedHealthcare National Medical Lead for Health Equity for the commercial line of business and works to develop and implement initiatives to address health care disparities.

Activity planners
Sarah Chart, RN
Senior Director
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Rebecca Gleason, RN, CCM
Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Tina Rydland, PharmD
Crystal Clear Rx
Denver, CO

Disclosures of relevant financial relationships
In accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, OptumHealth Education requires all those in the control of activity content to disclose their relevant financial relationships. An individual has a relevant financial relationship if such person (or his/her spouse/partner) has a financial relationship in any amount occurring in the last 12 months with a commercial interest whose products or services relate to the activity content.

OptumHealth Education ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

Ms. Chart and Ms. Gleason have indicated that they are employees of and own stock in UnitedHealth Group.

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

Method for calculating CE credit
CE credit was calculated by the complexity of content and pilot testing.

Accreditation statement
Joint Accreditation logoIn support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by OptumHealth Education and UnitedHealthcare. OptumHealth 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
IPCE logoThis activity was planned by and for the health care team, and learners will receive 3.50 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credits for learning and change.

The participant will be awarded up to 3.50 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 3.50 contact hour ([0.35] CEU) in states that recognize ACPE.
Attending the full program will earn 3.50 contact hour.
Unique Activity Number(s): JA0007123-0000-19-201-H04-P/T

OptumHealth Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 3.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. 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.

Case managers
The Commission for Case Manager Certification has approved this program for a maximum of 3.50 clock hours for Certified Case Managers (CCM).

OptumHealth Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this program. 3.50 CE hour.

Social workers
ACE logoAs a Jointly Accredited Organization, OptumHealth 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. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 3.50 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, such as those listed below. 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 preapproved for credits. To apply for credit types not listed above, participants should use the procedure established by the specific organization from which they wish to obtain credit.

Available Credit

  • 3.50 ACPE - Pharmacist
  • 3.50 ACPE - Pharmacy Technician
  • 3.50 AMA
  • 3.50 ANCC
  • 3.50 APA
  • 3.50 Attendance
  • 3.50 CCMC - General
  • 3.50 ASWB
Please login to register.

You must be logged into your account to participate in this course. Once logged in, please click "CONTINUE" to proceed through the Pre-Activity Assessment, learning modules, Post-Activity Assessment and the evaluation. You may start, stop and resume each module at any time. Please use the bottom arrows to progress forward through the modules.

In order to complete the first two modules, you must proceed through each video to the end of the References and allow the progress bar at the bottom to reach its conclusion. You may then close the window and proceed to the next module or case study.