Health Equity, Anti-racism, and Social Justice (HEARS)

Working definitions for this document1


A socially constructed way of grouping people, based on skin color and other apparent physical differences, which has no genetic or scientific basis. This social construct was created and used to justify social and economic oppression of historically minoritized groups by whites.

Racism/racial discrimination

A system of advantage based on race. A system of power and oppression codified into laws, policies, and institutions, based on the socially constructed concept of race, that advantages the dominant group (white people) while disadvantaging the non-dominant group (historically minoritized groups).

Racism takes several forms and works most often in tandem with at least one other form to reinforce racist ideas, behavior, and policy. Types of racism include:

Individual racism: the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism in conscious and unconscious ways. The U.S. cultural narrative about racism typically focuses on individual racism and fails to recognize systemic racism.

Interpersonal racism: public expressions of racism, often involving slurs, biases, or hateful words or actions occurring between individuals.

Institutional racism: race-based discriminatory treatments, unfair policies, or biased practices occurring in an organization that result in inequitable outcomes for whites over historically minoritized groups and extend considerably beyond prejudice. These institutional policies often do not explicitly mention any racial group, but the intent and effect is to create advantages for privileged groups.

Structural racism: the overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society. These systems give privileges to white people resulting in disadvantages to historically minoritized groups.

Health disparity

Differences between the health of one population and another in measures of who gets disease, who has disease, who dies of disease, and other adverse health conditions.

Health inequity

Differences in health status and mortality rates across population groups that are systemic, avoidable, unfair, and unjust. These differences are related to social and economic injustice and are attributable to social, economic, and environmental conditions in which people live, work, and play.


Antiracist action results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy (the false notion of a hierarchy of human value based on race, with white being supreme), white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society.

Race-based medicine

The system by which research characterizing race as an essential, biological variable translates into clinical practice, leading to inequitable care. This is in opposition to race-conscious medicine, which incorporates awareness of race as a societal health influence but does not view it as a genetic or other biologic facto

Social Justice2

The open acknowledgement of the dignity and autonomy of and delivery of high-quality medical care, to all members of society, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, geography, origin, or socioeconomic background.

Focus areas

Vision: Build capacity in hospitalists as change agents for Health Equity, Antiracism, and Social Justice (HEARS)

Mission: Our mission is to advance HEARS scholarship and advocacy in the hospitalist field.

Values: Equity in opportunity; bringing others with you; collaboration; integrity; empowerment 

Strategic Goals

Develop a HOMERuN-wide program on enhancing HEARS principles


Ensure HOMERuN efforts address HEARS principles

Promote HEARS-based best practices in scholarship and clinical care

Foster positive and inclusive work environments

Tactic: Adapt methods and/or measures from other fields depending on the body of work

Tactic: Conduct HEARS-related needs assessment in project planning phases

Ideas: Conduct a virtual GLA (group-level assessment) to broadly understanding barriers/facilitators to addressing HEARS principles in HOMERuN work groups and projects. This could then inform the development of a project planning needs assessment


Disseminate knowledge and advocacy


Share knowledge and evolving HEARS practices within the Hospitalist community

Partner with key stakeholders to spread innovation and improve patient care

Tactic: Each HEARS member has the opportunity to develop and disseminate project (whether a study, advocacy effort, etc.) at local, regional or national levels through invitations at partnering institutions, regional and national SGIM meetings

Tactic: Create or highlight opportunities diverse opportunities

Ideas: Share experiences

Build HEARS capacity in our team


Create opportunities for career building

Create opportunities to showcase and share work

Tactic: Share skills –  with information sharing during workgroup calls

Tactic: Share opportunities – more deliberate approaches to sharing opportunities for group

Ideas: HOMERuN work groups to either a) have a liaison to the HEARS group for project feedback or b) a HEARS group liaison attends other work groups. This will help with skill building across the network and collaborations


Areeba Kara MD MS
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
Associate Division Chief-General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics
Indiana University School of Medicine

Ashley Jenkins MD MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Member names and institutions

  • Gopi Astik, MD, Northwestern University
  • Marisha Burden, MD, MBA, University of Colorado
  • Adriana Dhawan, MD, University of Minnesota
  • Archna Eniasivam, MD, University of California San Francisco
  • Michelle Fletcher, MD, Northwestern University
  • Elizabeth Le, MD, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System
  • Kassab Lena, MD, Mayo Clinic
  • Anne Linker, MD, Icahn School of Medicine (Mount Sinai)
  • Benji Matthews, MD, University of Minnesota
  • Maya Narayanan, MD, University of Washington
  • Nila Radhakrishnan, MD, University of Florida College of Medicine
  • Jennifer Readlynn, MD, University of Rochester
  • Sarah Saari, MD, University of Washington
  • David Sterken, MD, University of Wisconsin
  • Amelita Woodruff, MD, Johns Hopkins

How the group works to achieve HOMERuN Vision and Mission


To transform patient care by fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and support for hospital medicine teams, dedicated to discovering, evaluating, and implementing breakthroughs in healthcare.


Empower and nurture hospital medicine teams to develop and implement innovative solutions to elevate the quality, safety, equity, and value of care for hospitalized patients from hospitalization to recovery.


Patient centered, collaborative, diversity, generalizable, effective, sustainable

The Health Equity, Anti-Racism, and Society Justice (HEARS) Work Group Strategic Plan 2023 builds off HOMERuN’s vision and mission by aligning its goals and values with the broader framework set by HOMERuN. It shares common values, particularly around patient centered, collaborative, and diversity.

The promotion of health equity in hospital medicine is critical to the HEARS Work Group’s strategic plan. We prioritize equity throughout all aspects of hospital medicine to include how we develop and grow diverse hospital medicine teams to then equitably develop and implement solutions that improve care for our patients. Lack of representational diversity, inclusion, cultural humility, and advocacy skills threatens the quality, safety, and value of the care we provide to patients in the hospital environment. Addressing these issues aligns us with HOMERuN’s vision and mission to improve how we provide care to and outcomes for patients in the hospital environment.

Individuals →

Community →

Our Institutions →

Our Communities →

The Practice of
Hospital Medicine

Sharing of ideas and best practices

Opportunities to participate in scholarship

Peer mentorship

Creating a community

Assist in embedding HEARS principles to all projects

Improve clinical care, education, scholarship, advocacy, quality improvement and administrative leadership to alight with HEARS principles

Current projects:




Inclusivity in Hospital Medicine

Areeba Kara

SGIM and SHM abstract presented; manuscript in progress

Measuring Equity

Elizabeth Le

IP, SHM and SGIM abstract planned

Models of Inpatient Sickle Cell Care

Ashley Jenkins

IP; side collaboration

Scopes and Shields

Amelita Woodruff

JHM perspective

EMR behavioral alerts


Discrimination in hospital medicine

Areeba Kara

Data collected, group to help with manuscript


None yet


  • Jenkins AM, Narayanan M, Linker A, Woodruff A, Eniasivam A, Mathews B, Sterken D, Astik G, Fletcher M, Nila Radhakrishnan N, Burden M, Saari S, Auerbach A, Dhawan A, Kara A. But What Does Inclusion Look Like?: Insights from Hospitalists. Society of General Internal Medicine. Aurora, CO. May 2023.
  • Narayanan M, Jenkins AM, Linker A, Woodruff A, Eniasivam A, Mathews B, Sterken D, Astik G, Fletcher M, Nila Radhakrishnan N, Burden M, Saari S, Auerbach A, Dhawan A, Kara A. But What Does Inclusion Look Like?: Insights from Hospitalists. Society of Hospital Medicine. Austin TX. April 2023.


  • Sterken D. Racial Bias in Pulse Oximetry. Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Medicine Summer Equity series)


  • Sterken D. Racial Bias in Pulse Oximetry. HOMERuN Letter and templated advocacy letter for members.