Health Equity & Access to Learning (HEAL) Workgroup

Terrie Wheeler


Weill Cornell Medicine

Joshua Rubin


University of Michigan

Our Mobilizing Computable Biomedical Knowledge (MCBK) Manifesto begins, “Knowledge has the potential to improve healthcare, the health of individuals, and the health of populations. Every decision affecting health should be informed by the best available knowledge. For moral and ethical reasons, it is imperative that each and every member of society have access to what is known at the time they are making health-related choices and decisions.”

Grounded in this recognition that knowledge is power, the Health Equity & Access to Learning (HEAL) workgroup seeks to ensure that such power becomes democratized as it is digitized. Biomedical knowledge and information technology shall serve as keys to unlock the power of all people to advance their own health and the health of others.

Working to realize better health for all, anchored in empowering individuals to make better informed health decisions, our HEAL workgroup aims to mobilize diverse stakeholders in an ongoing and active engagement around the value proposition of Mobilizing Computable Biomedical Knowledge (MCBK). In the context of person-centered Learning Health Systems (LHSs), we envision the creation and perpetuation of a robust CBK ecosystem that encourages public-private partnerships, supports open standards, generates value for users, and engenders equity. 

A foundational element of our effort harnesses communications and engagement with stakeholders as necessary prerequisites in order to establish an equitable, trustworthy, and FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) CBK ecosystem; we will promote its value as a tangible and empowering benefit for all stakeholders. Our collaborative work lies largely in promoting the value proposition of CBK creation, use, curation, deployment and assessment.

Our HEAL name explicitly expresses our overarching goals of embracing vigilance in promoting health equity as a central MCBK value, and synergistically fusing such efforts with our paramount intent to ensure access to learning about MCBK. Our workgroup will collaborate with other national and global MCBK workgroups as we work collectively to advance our

shared core value that every decision affecting the health of individuals and populations should be informed by the best available knowledge.

Historically, libraries have served as societal repositories of knowledge; transdisciplinary library science has organized and rendered such knowledge accessible and actionable, empowering individuals and engendering learning communities. Paradoxically, as Internet hacktivist Aaron Swartz noted in the 2008 Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, digitization has been utilized by the powerful to lock up knowledge generated by many, making it accessible only to a select few. Our HEAL workgroup aims to fuse the spirit of the library community with the vision of MCBK in order to ensure that the health-advancing promise of LHSs is driven by diverse stakeholders and rendered equitably accessible to all.


Our HEAL workgroup aims to:


Our HEAL workgroup engages:

These communities are not mutually exclusive and there is necessarily overlap in areas of engagement and activity.

Papers and Publications

Mobilizing Health Equity through Computable Biomedical Knowledge (CBK): A Call to Action to the Library, Information Sciences, and Health Informatics Communities

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