Friday, July 17, 2009

Making a House Call

MGH Disparities Solutions Center faculty member testifies at State House

ELIMINATING HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES: From left, Norman, King and Robinson

The MGH Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) is dedicated to the development and implementation of strategies that advance policy and practice to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Established in 2006, the center has played an important role in leading this charge, drawing attention to and having a voice in the issue of health care disparities on local, state and national levels.

At a June 9 Massachusetts State House hearing, Roderick King, MD, MPH, senior faculty member of the DSC, addressed the Joint Committee on Public Health on behalf of the MGH to request the support of two pending bills: "An act eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in the commonwealth" and "An act to establish community-based grant programs to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the commonwealth." King, who has worked at the MGH as a clinician, researcher and administrator on efforts to reduce health care disparities, was joined by Nancy Norman, MD, MPH, chief medical officer of the Boston Public Health Commission, and Frank Robinson, PhD, director of Community Health Planning at Baystate Medical Center, to endorse the bills that together would help establish an infrastructure and resources to move the state forward in reducing and ultimately eliminating the gaps in health and health care among racial and ethnic minorities.

"The issue of health disparities is complex and challenging," said King at the hearing. "It will take resources and consistent attention to improve. "When we reduce these disparities, we reduce health care costs, as healthier communities need fewer and less expensive health care services. When we reduce disparities, we create healthier communities that can contribute more fully to all of the state's activities. Reducing health disparities benefits everyone in Massachusetts. This is an investment in both our population's health and the state's economy."

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