The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of centering health equity in future health system and primary care reforms. Strengthening primary care will be needed to correct the longstanding history of mistreatment of First Nations/Indigenous and racialized people, exclusion of health care workers of color, and health care access and outcome inequities further magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report on Implementing High-Quality Primary Care: Rebuilding the Foundation of Health Care, that provided a framework for defining high-quality primary care and proposed 5 recommendations for implementing that definition. Using the report’s framework, we identified health equity challenges and opportunities with examples from primary care systems in the United States and Canada. We are poised to reinvigorate primary care because the recent pandemic and the attention to continued racialized police violence sparked renewed conversations and collaborations around equity, diversity, inclusion, and health equity that have been long overdue. The time to transition those conversations to actionable items to improve the health of patients, families, and communities is now.