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Doing Well by Doing Good: Recognizing Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion at the AcademyHealth 2024 Annual Research Meeting

The Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award is the newest addition to the ARM awards program and has the potential to inspire health services researchers to begin or expand their DEI work.

If you are an Annual Research Meeting (ARM) regular, you may have noticed a new award is available at the 2024 conference. The Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award will recognize organized groups within health services and policy research (HSR) that have created a more diverse, inclusive, just, and welcoming experience and sense of community for their employees and/or members. This award is the latest addition to AcademyHealth’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) portfolio and seeks to highlight the often-overlooked work from groups changing the culture and practices of their organizations. The AcademyHealth Board of Directors approved the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award with the expectation that recognition and amplification of exemplary approaches to DEIA will encourage others to adopt similar practices.

AcademyHealth Vice President Margo Edmunds modeled the AcademyHealth Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award after the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability Excellence in DEI Award which recognizes “individuals who regularly go above and beyond what is expected to create a more inclusive, just, and welcoming community” at Stanford. Rather than individuals, AcademyHealth’s Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award will recognize an organized group within HSR. Although recognition of individuals is valuable, AcademyHealth wishes to spotlight how an organized group’s DEIA work has changed their culture and environment through successful practices. Eligible nominees include organizations; defined departments, centers, clinical or research units; working groups of employees, faculty, staff, and students in a project, program, or in a cross-system coalition; and other collective efforts that have taken demonstrable steps through initiatives, programs, or policies. 


Over the past two decades, AcademyHealth has been active in several DEIA initiatives, such as conducting qualitative studies on increasing diversity, hosting workshops and training sessions on diversity and equity in HSR, and funding early career DEIA scholars to attend the ARM and meet with a mentor who shares their lived experience and areas of interest. In 2020, the Board of Directors tasked AcademyHealth with convening the Advisory Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Health Services and Policy Research (DEI in HSR) to help shape AcademyHealth’s priorities and suggest activities for meaningful change. The Advisory Group members represented a variety of lived experiences, racial/ethnic and gender identities, national geographies, organizational settings, areas of professional expertise, career stages, and perspectives on DEIA. The group used an explicit equity lens to help define and develop recommendations to position AcademyHealth as a leader and partner for advancing meaningful change in HSR.

The Advisory Group met virtually in 2020 and 2021 to discuss approaches and frameworks for DEIA work and synthesized their findings into a report published in August 2021. In the report, Recommendations to AcademyHealth from the Advisory Group on DEI in HSR, the Advisory Group outlined several recommendations of actionable steps for AcademyHealth to take while creating a strategic plan for DEIA. Recommendation three in the report is to “promote and develop the careers of health equity researchers and improve workforce diversity in HSR.” Specifically, the Advisory Group suggested that AcademyHealth “develop individual and organizational awards...for mentoring and for using antiracist methods in research” and that these awards “should recognize researchers in marginalized groups.” 

Each year, AcademyHealth’s ARM awards recognize significant contributions to the field of HSR to support our mission of improving health and health care for all. With the addition of the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award, AcademyHealth wishes to not only highlight an organized group’s successful DEIA work, but to inspire other health services researchers to start or expand their own DEIA programs, and to continue this work in the face of adversity. 

Recognizing the Winner

AcademyHealth will recognize the winner of the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award in several ways. A representative from the winning group will receive one night of lodging and registration support to attend the 2024 ARM in Baltimore, MD this June, where they will be recognized at the Sunday plenary session as well as the Diversity Networking Reception. The winning group will also be recognized in an AcademyHealth press release and will have the opportunity to share their experience via the AcademyHealth blog. 

The AcademyHealth ARM awards nomination period is open until March 15, 2024. Do you know an organization or group eligible for the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award? Submit your nomination today!

Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award Committee


Board Member, Member

Ninez A. Ponce, Ph.D., M.P.P.

Professor and Endowed Chair - UCLA Fielding School of Public Health AcademyHealth Board Secretary

Ninez A. Ponce, Ph.D. (B.S. UC Berkeley; M.P.P. Harvard; Ph.D. UCLA), is Professor and Endowed Chair in the UC... Read Bio


Board Member, Presenter

Alyce S. Adams, Ph.D.

Inaugural Stanford Medicine Innovation Professor - Stanford School of Medicine

Dr. Adams is the inaugural Stanford Medicine Innovation Professor and a Professor in the Departments of Health... Read Bio

Committee Member, Presenter

Kellan Baker, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A.

Executive Director - Whitman-Walker Institute

Dr. Kellan E. Baker is the Executive Director of Whitman-Walker Institute, an organization in Washington, D.C.... Read Bio

Committee Member

Abdul Shaikh, Ph.D., M.H.Sc.

Global Leader for Population Health - Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Dr. Abdul Shaikh is the Global Leader for Population Health for Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services... Read Bio

Tess headshot

Tess Bernhard

Marketing Associate - AcademyHealth

Tess Bernhard is a Marketing Associate at AcademyHealth. Read Bio

margo headshot

Margo Edmunds, Ph.D.

Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation - AcademyHealth

As Vice President for Evidence Generation and Translation, Dr. Margo Edmunds leads AcademyHealth's portfolios ... Read Bio

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