A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Disparities Council meets

Disparities Council meets

December 17, 2008

The Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities reconvened on Monday, after a two month hiatus. The meeting was chaired by Representative Byron Rushing and new Co-Chair Senator Susan Fargo. In collaboration with EOHHS Secretary Bigby, the two chairs led the council members through a discussion of the council’s mission, and developing a broad framework for the group to make recommendations to eliminate disparities in the Commonwealth. Council members emphasized the importance of making recommendations that address disparities in a comprehensive way, and are reasonably possible to accomplish through the legislature, administration, or community.

Secretary Bigby and Commissioner Auerbach noted that some efforts are underway in their agencies, including a draft disparities report card evaluating the state’s progress (EOHHS), and development of a grant program to support community based disparities reduction projects (DPH). Senator Fargo noted her ability to file legislation that supports the council’s recommendations.

DPH Director of Research and Epidemiology Bruce Cohen also joined the meeting and shared a number of disparities data points, describing areas where the disparities gap has worsened, improved, or remained stagnant. The council may identify some of those areas to address through their forthcoming recommendations.

The council will shortly announce a regular meeting time for the new year. Stay tuned to the HCFA disparities web site for updates.
Michele David
Co-Chair, Disparities Action Network