Dr. Michael Weaver, M.D. ’77, has been recognized by the Black Health Care Coalition of Kansas City for his efforts to narrow the equity gap in health care for African Americans.
At Saint Luke’s Health System, Weaver is vice president for clinical diversity and chairman of the Healthcare Equity Council. At the UMKC School of Medicine, he is a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, chair of the Minority Faculty Recruitment and Retention Committee and a longtime member of the school’s Diversity Council.
“There’s a mantra among leaders in health care equity and diversity: To have quality, you must have equity,” Weaver said. “That means looking at factors such as mortality, morbidity and readmission rates across patient populations, and striving for consistent outcomes.”
He said it was gratifying that Saint Luke’s for several years has had a Healthcare Equity Council to promote top-quality patient care regardless of demographics such as race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, language or socioeconomic status. The council also addresses issues related to population health, social health determinants, health literacy and LGBTQ issues.
Weaver’s equity work includes a grant he secured from the Healthcare Foundation of Kansas City to provide training at the School of Medicine and Truman Medical Centers and throughout the Saint Luke’s system to recognize unconscious bias.
“I think everyone needs to recognize and speak up about how unconscious bias and the social determinants of health can influence the creation of health care and health disparities,” he said.
The Black Health Care Coalition strives to eliminate health disparities through advocacy, access to care and health promotion activities. Its award to Weaver, a School of Medicine alumnus and faculty member, was one of several recent recognitions for the school regarding diversity and inclusion:
— The national magazine INSIGHT Into Diversity recently announced that it was honoring the school with a 2018 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.
— The School of Medicine, along with the School of Pharmacy and the School of Dentistry, received a five-year, $3.2 million federal grant for efforts to recruit students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and improve their academic success rates in health care fields.
— The school’s associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Nate Thomas, was among the administrators praised in Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal’s first State of the University address for helping bring true excellence to UMKC. Thomas plays a critical role in implementing programs to support students and help them stay in school, overcome obstacles and succeed.
— Three leaders of the UMKC chapter of the Student National Medical Association also have taken national or regional leadership positions in the association, which supports medical students from underserved populations.