Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Kou Thao

Director of Embedding Equity | American Medical Association
Pronouns: he/him

Kou is Director of Embedding Equity within the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Center for Health Equity. In this role he is responsible for internal systems transformation to embed racial justice and health equity throughout the AMA. Prior to this role, Kou was Director of the Center for Health Equity at the Minnesota Department of Health, where he led the state’s health equity strategy using GARE's racial equity framework. Kou's career spans 15 years of social and racial justice work across non-profit, philanthropic and government sectors. He was honored as a 2012 White House Champion of Change by the Obama Administration.

Twitter: @KouBThao

Presentations from Facing Race 2022

Embedding Equity within the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association (AMA) is a 175-year-old institution that recently established its Center for Health Equity in 2019. The Center is leveraging GARE’s Normalize-Organize-Operationalize framework to visualize health and racial equity across the AMA. As an institution, we seek to foster accountability and reflect on how we have helped and/or harmed efforts to advance equity. This workshop will share the strategies we are using and lessons learned as we strive to become an anti-racist institution.

The AMA is centering a trauma-informed approach to this work, recognizing that efforts to advance equity within institutions often burden staff from marginalized and minoritized communities. By incorporating trauma-informed principles, we hope to mitigate harm to staff most impacted by inequities on our journey to embed equity.

The last two years of the pandemic and racial uprisings have laid bare the inequities within communities, systems, and institutions. Now more than ever before institutions must take a step back and reflect on how they are helping or harming efforts to advance health and racial equity. The workshop will engage participants through breakout discussions exploring each of the Normalize, Organize, and Operationalize approaches. Attendees are invited to share how they are using these approaches or how they could begin to utilize the framework. The lessons learned from our first three years of this work will help inform others as they embark upon transforming their respective institutions.

Speakers: Kou Thao, Shaneah Taylor, Mel Meyer