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Doris Duke Foundation, Council of Medical Specialty Societies Announce “Encoding Equity”

$3 Million Grant Will Speed Reconsideration of Race in Clinical Algorithms

New York – June 24, 2024 – In a June 21 meeting at the National Academy of Medicine, the Doris Duke Foundation announced Encoding Equity in Clinical Research & Practice: Rethinking Race in Clinical Algorithms. Supported by a $3 million grant to the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), the Encoding Equity alliance will bring together diverse organizational missions to raise awareness across research and clinical communities about the urgent need to reconsider race in clinical algorithms, and to develop more rigorous approaches to its use. 

The alliance will encourage reassessment of race in algorithms across medical specialties, and support a series of convenings, publications and other educational outreach activities designed to promote understanding and the spread of best practices in this work.

“We know that using race as a variable to explain differences in biological or medical observations is flawed and harmful to patients,” expressed Doris Duke Foundation Program Director for Medical Research Sindy Escobar Alvarez. “A national focus on driving equity on this issue is long overdue, so we’re working together to ensure that equity is encoded in algorithms from inception to application. Our goals include changing the way in which race is considered in research design and ensuring that patients — especially those who continue to experience unequal treatment because of hidden or overtly wrong assumptions about race in research and in medicine — derive the best possible health outcomes.”

“As a convener of medical societies, CMSS is uniquely positioned to bring the clinical and research communities together to foster collective action and amplify impact. The additional focus brought by the Encoding Equity alliance structure will enable us to accelerate change more urgently and comprehensively than any one organization or group of stakeholders can,” explains CMSS CEO Dr. Helen Burstin. “We seek to engage and activate more individuals and organizations across the medicine, research, funding, publishing and technology sectors to share in designing better tools for medicine.”

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About the Doris Duke Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Foundation (DDF) is to build a more creative, equitable and sustainable future by investing in artists and the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, child well-being and greater mutual understanding among diverse communities. Through the Medical Research Program, the foundation strives to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases by strengthening and supporting clinical research. Visit to learn more.

About the Council of Medical Specialty Societies
The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) is a coalition of more than 50 specialty societies representing more than 800,000 physicians across the house of medicine. CMSS advances the expertise and collective voice of specialty societies and the patients they serve to drive meaningful change in the future of healthcare. Visit to learn more.