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Our Commitment to Equity and Community Health

Working to Help Everyone Live Their Healthiest Life

Our Goal is Equal Life Expectancy for All People

We recognize that centuries of inequity in medical care and society have led to different health outcomes, expectations, and experiences for different populations.

Acknowledging our medical center’s role in this history, we and our affiliates are working across every mission—patient care, research, education, and community—to reduce health inequities. We want to help everyone be as healthy as they can be, regardless of their background, identity, or where they live.

Community engagement is essential to this work. We respectfully listen to and learn from the communities we serve to identify health priorities and to collaborate with partners to address them.

Read Our Health Equity Updates

Actions We’re Taking

Equity and Inclusion

Diversifying and educating our workforce. Equity-focused education and training, K-12 pipeline programs, expanded recruitment efforts, and departmental diversity officers are building a more diverse and inclusive Medical Center community. These efforts, supported by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, help us provide more culturally responsive care to people of all backgrounds. And as our region’s largest employer, we work to create career opportunities within the communities we serve.

Health Equity Research

Achieving equity through data and research. Our patient care teams engage with community members to help us understand and address inequities, including non-medical factors that affect people’s health. We partner with community organizations to address issues such as transportation barriers, food insecurity, and a lack of safe housing. The Office of Health Equity Research aims to develop and implement ways to ensure equity, focused on health priorities identified by the community. The office supports and synergizes research and training to improve the health of the most vulnerable residents of Rochester and beyond.

Doctor looking at a smiling child on an exam table

Access to Care

Delivering care more equitably. Wcollaborate with partners to add new UR Medicine locations, and we work with community health centers to provide more convenient care in city neighborhoods and rural areas. We are also expanding telehealth services. With support from many departments, including our Health Equity Program Support Office, all of these measures improve access to health screenings and prevention programs, pharmaceutical care, disease management resources, outpatient services, and hospital care. We believe all patients should expect and receive high-quality care, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay.

Community Health Improvement

Through Community Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plans, our Rochester-based Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals actively collaborate with other local hospitals and the Monroe County Department of Public Health to address health priorities in our home county.

Building on this work, the Center for Community Health & Prevention (CCHP) works with partners to improve the health of communities in Monroe County and across the region we serve. Through disease prevention and healthy living programs, research, education, and policy, we work to create environments that promote healthy behaviors. Our Community Advisory Council brings together people who represent and serve historically marginalized groups; it serves as an ongoing forum for URMC to receive feedback and guidance on our health-improvement initiatives. To learn more about CCHP, read its 2023 Report to the Community.

Public Policy Engagement

Through consistent engagement with local Neighborhood Association leaders, community advisory boards, and resident business associations, our Office of Government and Community Relations actively listens to community feedback to better inform our health equity efforts and support healthier communities. We also collaborate with federal, state, and local government and community leaders to support policies that promote health equity. 

Educating the Next Generation

As an academic medical center, we’re in a unique position to train the next generation of caregivers in supporting health equity. We’re teaching residents and fellows to spot and address disparities in their own practices.

Our School of Medicine and Dentistry created the renowned biopsychosocial model of medical education, which teaches students to consider the whole patient and the complexities of their lives. Our health-care providers are trained to be sensitive to people’s circumstances, not just their illnesses or diseases. Understanding the broader context of people’s lives informs all of our missions, including patient care and research.

Anti-Racism in Action

Staff members, physicians, medical students, residents, and trainees from across the Medical Center worked with community groups and individuals to develop our Equity & Anti-Racism Action Plan. The plan has guided us to change internal policies and practices in ways that reflect our commitment to inclusivity and equity. We also have set, measurable milestones to assure progress toward achieving our ultimate goal: equal life expectancy for everyone.