2015 | 2014 | 2013 |
As a resident of the Tidewater region, I am aware of the unique challenges and health disparities faced by rural minority populations. These include food deserts, lower health care utilization rates, greater uninsured populations, higher mortality rates and access issues such as transportation and lack of medical facilities in rural communities (National Rural Health Association , 2016).
I teach a community health course to undergraduate students in the Health Sciences Department at Wichita State University. As part of their service learning project, they will create an asset map by using a Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping system. GIS is a sophisticated computer based system that stores and captures information based on the earth’s geographic location. This will help them to identify the positive attributes of a community by manipulating the layers in the GIS..
In its recent Health Equity Profile and Call to Action , the New England Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) called for leaders and stakeholders in the region—with its growing racial and ethnic diversity—to collaborate on tackling inequities before they grow more dramatic.
The Southeastern Health Equity Council (SHEC) is one of ten regional health equity councils in the U.S. formed by the NPA in 2011. Its mission is to inform policy, change systems and increase awareness for health equity, with a vision to coordinate efforts in Region IV to achieve health equity through policy changes, effective programs and greater awareness. Recently, the SHEC has partnered with UpLift Solutions to bring attention to the lack of healthy food access in the Southeastern United States and to assist UpLift Solutions in launching a $50 million Fresh Food Financing Fund. UpLift Solutions is a national nonprofit organization that supports efforts to create sustainable food environments in underserved communities. The SHEC/UpLift Solutions partnership is intended to eliminate some of the 1,441 areas that have been designated as food deserts in the Southeast region of the country.
A rich and storied history connects health and people of color in America. The architects of our nation’s civil rights and health equity movements led
major change in addressing the disparities that prevented minority populations from enjoying the same health status as other Americans. During National Minority Health Month 2016 in April, we recognize the valiant efforts of our country’s health
equity champions who ensure that everyone has an equal chance at a healthier life.