– Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Mitch Elkind
and I'm the president of the American Heart Association. And we wanted to give you an update on a session today called "Racing to Greater Life
Expectancy by 2030: is Racism a Tangible Target to Achieve Cerebrovascular Health Equity?" And to discuss today's session, I'll be joined by Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele, who organized the session
and served as a moderator and as a former chair of the ISC, Dr. Louise McCullough, the chair of this year's International
Stroke Conference, Dr. Olajide Williams, close
colleague here in New York and participant in the session today. And I think what I'll do,
Bruce, is turn it over to you. Tell us a little bit
about the session today. – Absolutely. Mitch, thank you so much. And so this session really
brings together the target goal, the 2030 goal that the AHA has. And also the most recent
presidential statement advisory on racism of which Mitch
and Olajide were part of. And so it was a wonderful session, biased as a moderator and
organizer for saying that, but I think it really encapsulated
a lot of the key issues.

So Olajide started off by talking about the potential, theoretical, and scientific underpinnings
of structural racism. He broke it down into the different types of racism and then spoke about bias and potential biological basis for racism and its effects on cerebrovascular health. We then had Gbenga Ogedegbe
talk about the issue of diversification of the workforce. He spoke specifically
about what the problem is, why diversity is beneficial, and how to go about fostering an atmosphere of inclusion excellence, which really is defined as
having policies and practices that prioritize utility of
resources that bridge equity. And then we had a
wonderful panel discussion. Many people after this session texted me to say that there wasn't enough time. But we had a robot
discussion about clinical, the educational, the policy, the research, and even the industry
perspectives when it comes to addressing this issue
of structural racism. I'll now hand it over to Olajide to deal with the speaker's
perspective on how it went.

– Thank you so much, Bruce. And so the question we were
really trying to address was, is racism a tangible target to achieve cerebrovascular health equity? And I think we all came
out of that saying, yes, I think it was a resounding yes, it is a tangible target. But we need to address structural racism, which is responsible for the differing social
determinants of health, which in turn, are the major drivers of the cerebrovascular disparities. We talked about the theoretical and scientific underpinnings, but we also, and I really enjoyed this part, was the significant role
of the healthcare workforce in fostering equity. Especially increasing diversity
at the leadership level, especially increasing the
underrepresented minority representation in throughout
the healthcare workforce, establishing more mentoring structures that address some of the social isolation that are all underrepresented. Minority positions experience improving the pipeline of programs into medicine from these underrepresented minorities. These things are not just cosmetic. They really have an effect, and some of those effects
really do translate into better outcomes, in addition to better patient satisfaction and also better adherence
to treatment and follow up.

But I think the underpinning message of the entire session, for me, was this mantra that I believe we need to really take hold of and promote as widely as possible. And that is that diversity
is not the problem. Diversity is the solution. – Very well said, Dr. Williams. Thank you very much. And as mentioned, probably
not quite enough time, and especially time to
get to the questions. So this is going to be an ongoing focus of the International Stroke Meeting. And we'll be looking forward to increasing the programming in this area for 2022 when we meet back, hopefully in person, in New Orleans. And I will have to say that the American Heart has really put their money where their mouth is.

So there's new diversity supplements that will be offered to anyone with an H8 grant for fellowship training. So they recognize that
diversity is the solution, and we all know that diverse
teams produce better results. So hopefully, we can learn from this and continue to grow in this area. – I might just add that the session today on structural racism is really part of a broader program that
the Heart Association has had this year focused
on health equity issues. In fact, our most recent impact goal, our goals for the year 2024, so over the next three years, are to serve as champions
for health equity. So we would anticipate that
by three years from now, we'll advance cardiovascular
health for all, including identifying
and removing barriers to healthcare access and quality. And these are not just words. There's going to be
several large investments in research, in advocacy,
in support of communities, and also in specific
initiatives around risk factors like hypertension, and
particularly stroke.

So we look forward to working with the entire stroke community to implement these programs and to achieve health equity
over the next few years. – Fantastic. Thank you, Mitch..



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