In 2019, the American Medical Association established the Center for Health Equity to embed and advance equity across all aspects of health care. As a foundational component of the Center’s work, the AMA partnered with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Center for Health Justice to develop this comprehensive health equity communication guide. This resource provides guidance and promotes a deeper understanding of equity-focused, person-first language and why it matters. Like science, language and understanding evolve over time, and this guide is not intended to be a definitive and all-encompassing instruction manual. Instead, it was created to give a fresh perspective about the language we commonly use, and to recognize the harmful effects of dominant narratives in medicine.

The three key components of this guide are sections on Health Equity Language, Why Narratives Matter, and a Glossary of Key Terms.