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Forty Years of Addressing Health Disparities

Today’s guest post is written by Aldon Hynes

The Community Health Center (CHC) celebrates its fortieth birthday today.   Amidst all the celebration, it is important to remember a few things.  First, and foremost, CHC has always been driven by the belief that Health Care is a Right, not a Privilege, and this belief is an important starting point in addressing health disparities.

You see, when healthcare is a privilege, you end up with the privileged having health care, and those without privileges having disparities.   Yet there is more to eliminating health disparities than simply thinking of health care as a right.  It is important to make sure that everyone has quality health care where they are treated with dignity.  Primary care should be just as accessible, desirable and successful for any person, no matter what their race or economic situation.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nwando Olayiwola with patients.

Besides having patients as board members, it is important to have the community involved in research on addressing health disparities.  Research and innovation have always been important to CHC, with a particular interest in Community-based participatory research.

At CHC, we initiated special programs to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the Hispanic community and to better control hypertension in the African American community.  We’ve used electronic health records to capture data so that we can track improvement in health outcomes.

We’ve used telemedicine, like Project ECHO and eConsults to reduce disparities in access to care, and we’ve worked to mitigate social determinants of health through working with farmers markets and other programs to make it easier for people to have access to healthy food and opportunities for exercise which are so important to good health outcomes.

Supporting all of this, we’ve worked with Health Justice CT, to help spread the word that health disparities are an important issue that needs to be addressed here in Connecticut.

Every day, we should keep our eyes open for new opportunities to reduce health disparities in Connecticut.

New “green” facility in Middletown, CT

In celebration of their 40th anniversary,  please join the Community Health Center, on Saturday, May 5th at noon as they unveil their new “green,” primary health care facility at 675 Main Street in Middletown, Connecticut.

 

Images courtesy of the Community Health Center, Inc.

Aldon Hynes is a social media manager at the Community Health Center, Inc.  He has been using media socially since he shared his coloring books in kindergarten. Since then, he has helped politicians, non-profits, corporations and others use online social media tell their story online. Connect with Aldon on Twitter.

 

Health Justice CT provides a public forum for conversations, ideas and collective action. The opinion expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of HealthJusticeCT or our funder.

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