NHC Commends JAMA’s Role in Advancing Health Equity

By Maddie Mason, Senior Associate, Policy 

The National Health Council (NHC) submitted comments commending the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on their publication of “The Reporting of Race and Ethnicity in Medical and Science Journals.”  As a preeminent medical journal, including 11 journals that operate under the JAMA Network, the guidelines outlined are a significant milestone in the fight to achieve health equity in the United States.  

The publication lays out guidelines for how information on diverse populations should be presented to ensure that the JAMA Network is consistent and considerate of diverse populations in their scientific reporting. These guidelines are well crafted and offer a meaningful and important first step. However, the NHC offered a few recommendations to strengthen the guidelines 

  • Include directions in the guidelines that all JAMA Network submissions report the study’s population demographic make-up in order for disparities to be clearly and consistently identified;  
  • Work with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) to develop standard recommendations about language usage and data reporting related to diversity for all scientific journals; and 
  • Continue tracking and reporting of the demographic makeup of researchers and reviewers.  

For more information, please read our letter.  

Last year, the NHC and the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) released a Consensus Statement on Health Equity. In this statement, which was signed by nearly all of our patient group member organizations, we committed to: 

  • Promote an inclusive, equitable, accessible, and high-quality care delivery system; 
  • Advocate for equitable access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage; 
  • Partner with organizations that have a track record in addressing social determinants of health to reduce health disparities; and 
  • Collaborate with the biomedical and health-services research and the health economics ecosystem to support equity in development and valuation of new and innovative treatments and services. This includes the collection and reporting of demographic factors in research to include race, disability status, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, and other factors to help identify and eliminate biases. 

We are encouraged by organizations like the JAMA Network and their commitment to enhancing health equitand were pleased to have the opportunity to provide support and positive feedback on their efforts.