HOUSTON (July 27, 2023)

As part of Memorial Hermann Health System’s vision to create healthier communities, now and for generations to come, the system has announced the formation of The Memorial Hermann Institute for the Advancement of Health Equity. With a focus on innovation and research, the Institute will accelerate the system’s ongoing efforts to help all Houstonians have an equal opportunity when it comes to living a healthy life.

“Memorial Hermann believes that good health and well-being are foundational to an individual’s ability to overcome barriers and achieve success,” said David L. Callender, MD, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann. “We know that achieving true health equity is an ongoing journey, and we are committed to leading the discovery and implementation of innovative solutions that will benefit our neighbors here in Houston and in communities across the country.”

A 2022 study estimated that $320 billion is spent annually to address the effects of health inequities in the U.S. If nothing changes, this cost could increase to more than $1 trillion and exacerbate the current challenges in affordability, quality and access to care.

“As one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., Houston is an ideal location to study and further innovative solutions to our nation’s complex health equity crisis,” said Toi Harris, MD, senior vice president and chief equity, diversity and inclusion officer for Memorial Hermann, who will serve as the executive director of the institute. “Social determinants of health are the factors beyond medical services that influence an individual’s health and well-being, and which impact the health of every resident of the Greater Houston area.”

Social determinants of health include education, income, community safety, air and water quality, and access to care. Memorial Hermann is currently working across communities to address key barriers to health, including supporting families with overall economic stability and helping provide access to education, nutritious food and quality health care services. The institute will become a coordination hub for these efforts, helping to accelerate them and increase our focus on research, while pioneering new strategies for advancing health equity.