Sepsis Alliance Announces Organizational Commitments to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

January 25, 2021

With its new wide-reaching pledge and action plan, Sepsis Alliance takes a vital step towards fostering more equity in its public awareness work, its provider education, and its advocacy efforts.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA—Today, Sepsis Alliance announces a wide-reaching pledge and action plan aimed at fostering more equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in its work.

Sepsis Alliance aims to reduce harm caused by sepsis, and communities of color experience a disproportionate burden of sepsis-related suffering. Last year, the organization sought to deepen its own understanding of disparities in the sepsis care landscape through a Sepsis and Equity Fact Sheet, made possible in part with unrestricted support from Roche Diagnostics. The fact sheet examined gaps in sepsis awareness, care, incidence, and outcomes across social determinants of health like race and ethnicity.

The Sepsis and Equity Fact Sheet illuminated many existing racial and ethnic disparities, including in the incidence of severe sepsis[i], the likelihood of readmission to the hospital after sepsis treatment[ii], and public awareness of sepsis (49% of recent survey respondents identifying as Black had heard the term “sepsis,” as compared to 76% of white-identifying respondents, for example[iii]). Perhaps most astonishing were the findings on sepsis patient mortality: hospitalized Asian and Pacific Islander patients were found to be 18% more likely to die from sepsis than white patients[iv]; American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the Indian Health Service area were reported to be 1.6 times more likely to die from sepsis than the national average[v]; and Black individuals were discovered to bear nearly twice the burden of sepsis deaths, relative to the size of the Black population, as compared to white individuals[vi][vii].

These findings made one thing abundantly clear: in a national health system riddled with inequity, sepsis is no exception.

As the nation’s first and leading sepsis organization—and as a group with a mandate to reduce harm—Sepsis Alliance bears responsibility for closing these gaps. In an effort to promote greater equity in sepsis awareness and care and to help eliminate preventable disparities in sepsis incidence, morbidity, and mortality, Sepsis Alliance has developed an EDI pledge and action plan to go into immediate effect. The pledge is meant to be both global and continuing; it comprises all areas of Sepsis Alliance’s work (public awareness, provider education, and advocacy) and implements ongoing institutional changes that will make Sepsis Alliance more representative of the diverse populations it serves. Sepsis Alliance is also committing to measuring and reporting its EDI progress, so as to remain accountable to its stakeholders and to ensure sustainability in its efforts.

To find out more about Sepsis Alliance’s organizational commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion, click here.


About Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the first and leading sepsis organization in the U.S., working to save lives and reduce suffering by improving sepsis awareness and care., the organization’s website, serves the needs of more than 2.5 million visitors each year. In 2011, Sepsis Alliance designated September as Sepsis Awareness Month to bring healthcare professionals and community members together in the fight against sepsis. The organization’s Clinical Community and Sepsis Alliance Institute have provided training to more than 35,000 health providers across the country. Sepsis Alliance gives a voice to the millions of people who have been touched by sepsis – to the survivors, and the friends and family members of those who have survived or who have died. Since 2003, sepsis awareness in the U.S. has risen from 19% to 71%. Sepsis Alliance is a GuideStar Platinum Rated charity. For more information, please visit Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter at @SepsisAlliance.


[i] Barnato, A. E., Alexander, S. L., Linde-Zwirble,W. T. and Angus, D. C. (2008) Racial variation in the incidence, care, and outcomes of severe sepsis: analysis of population, patient, and hospital characteristics, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine,177(3), 279-284.

[ii] Chang, D. W., Tseng, C. H., and Shapiro, M. F. (2015). Rehospitalizations following sepsis: common and costly. Critical Care Medicine, 43(10), 2085.

[iii] Sepsis Alliance Awareness Survey. (2020)

[iv] Jones, J. M., Fingar, K. R., Miller, M. A., Coffey, R., Barrett, M., Flottemesch, T., Heslin, K. C., Gray, D. T. and Moy, E.(2017) Racial Disparities in Sepsis-Related In-Hospital Mortality: Using a Broad Case Capture Method and Multivariate Controls for Clinical and Hospital Variables, 2004-2013, Critical Care Medicine,45(12), e1209-e1217.

[v] Disparities. (2019, October)

[vi] Kempker, J. A., Kramer, M. R., Waller, L. A. and Martin, G. S. (2018) Risk Factors for Septicemia Deaths and Disparities in a Longitudinal US Cohort, Open Forum Infectious Diseases,5(12), ofy305.

[vii] Mayr, F. B., Yende, S., Linde-Zwirble, W. T., Peck-Palmer, O. M., Barnato, A. E., Weissfeld,L. A. and Angus, D. C. (2010) Infection rate and acute organ dysfunction risk as explanations for racial differences in severe sepsis, JAMA,303(24), 2495-503.