The Principles For Equitable Health Innovation v1.0

We invite you to join us in imagining a future in which every person in our country is in full health — a future in which all of us are seen, heard, honored, valued, treated, and cared for in full.The Principles for Equitable Health Innovation offer an opportunity for us to come together as a community to actualize this vision by prioritizing investment in health innovations developed by, with, and for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other communities of color; women; LGBTQ+ communities; communities with disabilities; communities with low income; rural communities; and others living within and at the intersection of historically marginalized communities.

Principle 1

Dismantling structural racism, sexism, and bias in health innovation resource allocation begins with organizational self-assessment.

Health innovation stakeholders should regularly and transparently assess the impacts of organizational investment, solution development, and/or solution purchasing decisions on and at the intersection of historically marginalized communities. This is the first step towards making health care innovation radically more inclusive.

Principle 2

Impact on health equity is a fundamental metric that should be used in assessing the value created by all health innovations.

Health innovation solution developers should be encouraged and financially incentivized to apply design and data justice approaches1,2, that value and foster accountability to historically marginalized community members who will be impacted by solution implementation. A proportionally representative population of potential users and stakeholders should be engaged in an equity-centered participatory design process inclusive of problem framing and prioritization, root cause analysis, solution development and testing, evaluation design, market selection, and implementation planning.

Principle 3

Greater investment is needed in health innovations developed specifically to improve health in and/or eliminate inequities experienced by historically marginalized communities, with resources and support prioritized for innovators designing from within these communities.3

Historically marginalized community members are uniquely qualified to catalyze innovations to improve wellbeing. There is great need and opportunity for funding and decision-making structures that honor, compensate for, and invest in the expertise of proximate leaders4. Industry-wide funding allocation should at minimum increase to the community’s proportional representation within the U.S. population.

Principle 4

More health innovation investment models should support asset ownership and wealth development within historically marginalized communities.

Economic value generated from health innovations developed for, with, and by people from marginalized communities should benefit those communities. Strategies include institutional investment in5,6 and co-investment with7 fund managers from historically marginalized communities, models that prioritize the long-term health of businesses such as builder capitalism8, supporting employee and community business ownership models such as revenue-based financing9,10 , and protecting founder and user rights to data and intellectual property through broader use of debt capital, for example.

Principle 5

While health innovation funders, solution developers, and customers have a significant opportunity for impact at the organizational level, we need industry influencers to engage in addressing systems-level barriers and needs.

Policymakers, standards developers, public/private coalitions, and others with influence on industry-wide rules, regulations, and norms related to topics such as coverage and payment, data privacy, and technological infrastructure, should proactively learn from health innovators, investors, patients, and caregivers from underinvested communities to inform and guide their priorities and foster accountability for impact.

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