A call to integrate health equity into learning health system research training

Learn Health Syst. 2022 Jul 24;6(4):e10330. doi: 10.1002/lrh2.10330. eCollection 2022 Oct.


In 2016, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recommended seven domains for training and mentoring researchers in learning health systems (LHS) science. Health equity was not included as a competency domain. This commentary from scholars in the Consortium for Applied Training to Advance the Learning health system with Scholars/Trainees (CATALyST) K12 program recommends that competency domains be extended to reflect growing demands for evidence on health inequities and interventions to alleviate them. We present real-life case studies from scholars in an LHS research training program that illustrate facilitators, challenges, and potential solutions at the program, funder, and research community-level to receiving training and mentorship in health equity-focused LHS science. We recommend actions in four areas for LHS research training programs: (a) integrate health equity throughout the current LHS domains; (b) develop training and mentoring in health equity; (c) establish program evaluation standards for consideration of health equity; and (d) bring forth relevant, extant expertise from the areas of health disparities research, community-based participatory research, and community-engaged health services research. We emphasize that LHS research must acknowledge and build on the substantial existing contributions, mainly by scholars of color, in the health equity field.

Keywords: health disparities; health equity; learning health system.