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World Health Assembly highlights: Accolade's commitment to health equity

By Dr. Shantanu Nundy, Executive Vice President and Chief Health Officer, Accolade | June 11, 2024 | 3 min read

Last month, I had the honor of representing Accolade in Geneva, Switzerland at an event during the World Health Assembly. This event was particularly meaningful to me, as it brought back memories of my time at the World Health Organization (WHO) during medical school when I was just 25. It was a time of learning and inspiration and returning to WHO felt like coming full circle.

The event celebrated the documentary series "Healthier Together: A Path to A Better World," produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions in collaboration with the WHO Foundation. The series, which featured Accolade, focuses on addressing health inequities and closing gaps in care – a mission that lies at the heart of what we do.

In the United States, the Physician Gap makes it difficult to find a primary care doctor, especially for marginalized communities. Accolade's approach to addressing this issue involves Personalized Healthcare and Physician-led Advocacy. Our Care Teams, led by physicians, consist of primary care physicians, mental health therapists, nurses, pharmacists, and Care Advocates, working together to ensure our members receive appropriate care in a timely manner.

As part of the “Healthier Together” series, Accolade presented a mini documentary showcasing our member, Marjorie. Marjorie works for United Airlines and resides in Maricopa, AZ. Diagnosed with diabetes in 2003, she faced challenges with her insulin use and struggled to find the care she needed due to the difficulty of finding a doctor.

Upon contacting Accolade, Marjorie received comprehensive guidance for all her healthcare needs. We assisted her in finding in-network providers, preparing for medical visits, and accessing virtual primary care services. Through our mobile app, Marjorie connected with her Care Team, including Janine, a registered nurse, and Jessica, a health coach. Whenever she had a question or needed help, her Care Team was there to support her.

Our ecosystem of trusted partners provides an integrated healthcare experience for our members. When Marjorie first contacted us, she was unaware of the additional benefits available through her employer. Her Care Team connected her with Virta Health, our metabolic partner that specializes in diabetes. Through Virta, Marjorie gained access to a physician and a nutritionist who helped her manage her condition with a focus on nutrition and physical activity, significantly reducing her need for daily medications.

Reflecting on my medical school days, I remember being taught that type 2 diabetes was a lifelong condition. However, recent advancements have shown that, in certain cases, the condition can be reversible. With the combined support of Accolade and Virta, Marjorie is taking control of her health.  As Marjorie eloquently put it, "I can't imagine my life without Accolade, but I can imagine my life without diabetes."

Stories like Marjorie's fuel my passion as a practicing physician and make me incredibly proud to be part of the Accolade team. Her journey is a testament to the impact of personalized, compassionate healthcare to advancing health equity for all.

You can watch Marjorie’s inspiring story here.

Shantanu Nundy, MD is Accolade’s Executive Vice President and Chief Health Officer.

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