Achieving Equity in Health Care: AGS work at the intersection of Structural Racism & Ageism

The AGS future vision is that we all are living in a just society, one where we are supported by and able to contribute to communities where ageism, ableism, classism, homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of bias and discrimination no longer impact healthcare access, quality, and outcomes for older adults and their caregivers. AGS is committed to taking purposeful steps towards achieving our vision for the future and we have incorporated a priority that cuts across all of our programs, products, and advocacy into our strategies for achieving our vision

Our initial area of focus is on the intersection of structural racism and ageism (ISR&A), as detailed in Future forward: AGS initiative addressing intersection of structural racism and ageism in health care in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

This page gathers our work to date into a single resource and that we will update as our work evolves.

Ensuring the Healthcare Workforce has the Knowledge and Skills it Needs to Care for Older People

AGS statements, positions and recommendations

AGS incorporated attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion into the following statements, positions, and recommendations: 

Educational Programs

  • AGS Webinar – Racial Bias in 2020: Raising Awareness and Positive Action (geriatricscareonline.org)
  • AGS Webinar – Racism in the Workplace – A Reflection on Patient Bias by Frontline Workers (geriatricscareonline.org)
  • AGS Cultural Navigator – The AGS is updating the AGS Cultural Navigator. Based on Doorway Thoughts (first published in 2004, Cultural Navigator provides clinicians relevant information regarding the beliefs, traditions, and customs that would apply to clinical encounters with an older adult from diverse ethnic background. AGS is updating this tool to include culture-specific health risks and concerns. See public education below for a description of the corresponding materials that we are creating through our AGS Foundation for Health in Aging.
  • AGS is working across its portfolio of products to incorporate attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion as products are being updated and in accordance with editorial timelines. 

Expanding the Geriatrics Knowledge Base

In AGS Future Forward, we announced a ten-year goal of ensuring that research presented at our AGS Annual Scientific meeting and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society would reflect the diversity of the population being studied

AGS 2022 Annual Meeting

  • The AGS Annual Meeting Program Committee added language to the symposium submission site requesting attention to diversity in faculty presenters and in content.  In 2022, the Program Committee is requiring that diversity be addressed whenever clinical research is being presented.
  • The Diversity in Research subcommittee of the AGS Research Committee added questions to the 2022 abstract submission process to gather baseline dat on diversity in research presented at the AGS Annual Meeting. Based on findings, the Committee will revisit the benchmarks and establish a plan for requiring diversity in research presented at the AGS annual meeting (2031 goal). We developed a FAQ for abstract submitters that explained why we included these questions in the submission process. 

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS)   

  • The JAGS Executive Leadership Group is working on finalizing changes to its instructions for authors that are focused on encouraging attention to diversity in journal articles. They plan training for Editors and reviewers as well.  
  • JAGS will be publishing a series of invited papers that are focused on understanding diversity in research on a number of topics including both diseases and syndromes (e.g., dementia, cancer, heart disease) and specialty practice (e.g., emergency services)

Public Policy and Advocacy 

The AGS vision for the future is focused on improving the health, independence, and quality for all of us as we age and where we all have access to high-quality, person-centered care informed by geriatrics principles and free of ageism. We are incorporating language in our recommendations to Congress and the Administration about our vision for a future where ageism, ableism, classism, homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of bias and discrimination no longer impact healthcare access, quality, and outcomes for older adults and their caregivers. Here, we list documents from our policy portfolio that contain specific recommendations regarding the intersection of ageism with other types of bias and discrimination.

Public Education

AGS Health In Aging Foundation

AGS established the AGS Health in Aging Foundation in 1999 to advance our commitment to maintaining the health, independence, and quality of life of all older adults by increasing public awareness and providing access to needed resources.

Cultural Navigator Tip Sheets

As the AGS updates its Cultural Navigator App (see above), our AGS Foundation for Health in Aging will be releasing accompanying Patient Education Tip Sheets, published on HealthinAging.org.

The Health in Aging Foundation is working across its portfolio of products to incorporate attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion as products are being developed or updated in accordance with editorial timelines. 

Updates on our Work

AGS is committed to updating our members, partners, and stakeholders on our progress in this work.  Updates to date include: