Friday, December 13, 2013

Disparities forum celebrates successes, honors mayor

COLLABORATION: From left, Betancourt, Menino, Quinlan and Slavin

One decade ago, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino called upon the city’s teaching hospitals to join him and the Boston Public Health Commission to eliminate inequities in health and health care. The MGH joined in that citywide effort and created the MGH Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities to identify and address disparities at the hospital. On Dec. 5, the committee marked its 10-year anniversary with a special event in the O’Keeffe Auditorium, which also honored Menino for his service and support.

“Mayor Menino believes in taking care of people before they are in distress and has taught that lesson to all of us,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, in his welcoming address.

Menino’s groundbreaking efforts to analyze and address the problem of racial and ethnic disparities in the city have constituted a major initiative of his administration. As a result, Boston was the first city in the nation to produce a report detailing the problem locally and to develop a comprehensive blueprint to outline potential solutions. The mayor helped harness the energy of all of Boston’s teaching hospitals including the MGH – now at the forefront of best practices health care facilities can use to improve care to minority communities.

“It’s not about me, folks. It’s about you folks,” said Menino. “I just want to say thank you for what you’ve done. Because of you, a lot of people now have the health care they need.”

The event included a retrospective of Disparities Committee initiatives and accomplishments. Featured speakers were Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, director of the MGH Disparities Solutions Center and co-chair of the MGH Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities; Elizabeth Mort, MD, MPH, senior vice president of Quality and Safety and chief quality officer; Joan Quinlan, MPA, executive director of the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement; Arlene Kelleher, RN, Pediatric ICU nursing director; Shannon Lundin, community outreach coordinator from the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition; and Lee Jeanty, an MGH Bicentennial Scholar.

“Boston is the envy of nearly every city,” said Betancourt. “We are grateful to the mayor for being a catalyst for change.” 

Read more articles from the 12/13/13 Hotline issue.



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