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Advancing Health Equity in an Era of Healthcare Change

CMHP Recap blog“Advancing Health Equity in an Era of Healthcare Change,” was this year’s theme at the Connecticut Multicultural Health Partnership Annual Meeting, which took place at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut on June 20, 2013. Here’s a glimpse of what happened at the meeting:

The highlight of the morning the keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Bader presentation was titled “The Negative Space of Stigma.” In this he explained how where we live and how we choose where to live can have far reaching consequences, especially for our health. Referencing data he had collected from Chicago, Dr. Bader explained that in Chicago Whites tend not to consider moving into primarily Black or Latino neighborhoods, even if they don’t actually know anything about the neighborhood itself. This enforces the racially and ethnically segregated nature of Chicago. While seems somewhat obvious, Dr. Bader brought up another very interesting point about which I had never really thought. While Whites tended not to be interested in moving into Black or Latino neighborhoods, Blacks and Latinos were generally more open to moving to a community that was not primarily their race or ethnicity. This creates an interesting dynamic. As demographically young Black and Latino populations move into older White communities, the community may cease to be segregated based on race or ethnicity but becomes segregated based on age. Since Black and Latino populations tend to be younger than Whites, a neighborhood might be integrated as a whole but schools will still be segregated. I found this very interesting how demographic issues that may not be as acknowledged as race or ethnicity can still have a large impact of a community’s makeup.  I also especially liked Dr. Bader’s final message that it was everyone’s obligation to integrate, not just the obligation of minorities.

In the afternoon there were four different workshops offered: “Language Access,” “Facing Race/Racism,” “The Patient Medical Home Model,” and “State (CT) Specific Health Reform Programs and Their Impact on Health Disparities”. Each was repeated twice so we could attend two.

I attended Facing Race/Racism and The Patient Medical Home model. Facing Race/Race was presented by Mr. Jack Hasegawa. The presentation focused on how to identify different types of bias, especially racial and ethnic biases.  Mr. Hasegawa explained that when we encounter what we feel to be bias in our lives we must ask ourselves three questions. Am I being oversensitive? Is this an administrative failure? Or is this actually bias? Many of us gave examples from our lives in which we felt we had experienced bias. It was very interesting to note how often it was not entirely clear which of the three situations we had encountered. The main take away of the presentation for me was that we always need to look at the situation critically when dealing with perceived bias.

After, I attended the workshop “The Patient Medical Home Model,” presented by Ms. Daniela Giordano. In her presentation Ms. Giordano explained the concept of Person Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) and the benefits and challenges of implementing such a system. Under the Affordable Care Act, a PCMH system is an option for the states to implement. Connecticut is a state that has opted to implement PCMH model of care. The main idea behind the PCMH is the sharing of medical records between all of a person’s medical professionals. This sharing would be coordinated by through the person’s primary care physician. This would ideally allow providers to administer a higher quality of care cheaper. The plan also involves expanding reimbursement so that doctors can afford to provide more care. The main challenge the PCMH model faces is to deal with patient confidentiality when doctors are sharing information. Despite this challenge the PCMH model seems to have a great deal of promise.

What did you learn from the meeting?

Phillip Montgomery is a HJCT program intern and rising junior at John Hopkins University. 




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