The MGH has always been home to people who want to make a difference in their communities – within the hospital and beyond. Now, staff are taking their advocacy to the state and federal levels through the newly formed Executive Committee on Community Health (ECOCH) and Executive Committee on Diversity and Equity (ECODE) Policy and Advocacy Subcommittee.
Committed to evaluating, endorsing and elevating policies that improve public and community health, health equity and social determinants of health, the Policy and Advocacy Subcommittee gives MGHers the opportunity to have pieces of legislation endorsed at the hospital and/or system level through an online submission process.
“We’ve had a number of policies endorsed by Mass General Brigham,” says Fiona Danaher, MD, pediatrician at Mass General for Children and subcommittee co-chair.
Most recently, the system endorsed the Work and Family Mobility Act, which grants driver’s licenses to Massachusetts residents regardless of their immigration status. The act recently became state law after the House and Senate overrode the governor’s veto.
“We know from our social determinants of health data that transportation is posting a significant barrier to many of our patients with limited English proficiency,” Danaher says. “They are having trouble getting to their appointments. Accessing vaccine and testing sites has also been challenging for them during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we were excited when Mass General Brigham supported that bill.”
Staff across all departments are encouraged to submit pieces of legislation for consideration to the ECOCH/ECODE Policy and Advocacy Subcommittee. The group’s endorsement application is available here. Those who submit are encouraged to outline how the issue impacts the health of patients in the MGH community.
Although the application asks for a lot of information, Danaher says staff should not be intimidated. Members of the subcommittee are available to answer questions and walk people through the process.
“The work of this joint committee is a great way for MGHers to lend their voices and advocate for state and federal policies that prioritize the health-related needs of our patients,” says Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, MD, director of the MGH Center for Social Justice and Health Equity and subcommittee co-chair. “Their advocacy will help improve health outcomes across the diverse communities we serve.”