A Healthy Blog

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

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

What’s Your Health Code?

Just months after the Health of Boston report found that black and Latino residents continued to experience higher levels of chronic disease, mortality, and poorer health outcomes compared to white residents, the Boston Public Health Commission launched a new health equity campaign to educate Boston residents about striking health disparities that exist between different neighborhoods in the city. Put simply: where you live matters to your health. Read more »

Engaging Minority Communities in Safer Healthcare

MITSS (Medically Inducted Trauma Support Services) has organized a half-day conference to take place on Saturday, August 28, at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury focusing on issues of patient safety with a particular focus on minority communities. Please see this flyer (pdf) for patients and family members (the event is also open to clinicians) and the day’s agenda (pdf) for more information. The Consumer Health Quality Council’s Lucilia Prates is one of the featured speakers. This is an exciting opportunity to start engaging members of communities that have often been left out of patient... Read more »

Health Disparities Council Holds June Meeting

The Health Disparities Council met yesterday. Facilitated by EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby and Co-Chair Representative Byron Rushing, the meeting opened with an update on Senate 810, which is still pending in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The Council has formally endorsed the legislation which makes permanent in statute the EOHHS Office of Health Equity. Read more »

Disparities Council Meeting Monday

The state Health Disparities Council holds its next meeting on Monday, June 28th from 2-4PM on the 21st floor of Ashburton Place. The meeting will be the last to take place before the Council’s summer reccess. The agenda includes reports from the EOHHS Office of Health Equity, including an update from the Report Card Group, and a presentation from the Legislative Group. Read more »

Women and Health Reform

On Wednesday, a packed room of women (and a few brave men) gathered to hear a panel of leaders in Massachusetts health care reform speak about how state and national reform impacts women’s health coordinated by the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum (read the studies and presentations). Not surprisingly, women use the health care system more often then men. By design, we give birth, and we typically live longer. It was disconcerting, however, to learn that even with health care reform laws working to eliminate disparity in insurance coverage because of gender, women still struggle to get... Read more »

Also Pending: S.810 - A Step Forward for Health Equity

Massachusetts has an important opportunity to advance health equity through legislation pending in the Health Care Financing Committee. Filed by Senator Fargo and Representative Rushing, S. 810 (An Act to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities), establishes a permanent Executive level Office of Health Equity that works to address the root causes of health inequality. The Office will oversee a statewide disparities agenda by coordinating the activities of both health and non health agencies to create healthier more equitable communities. As health disparities result from a complex set... Read more »

AHRQ Releases National Quality and Disparities Reports

The annual National Healthcare Quality and the National Healthcare Disparities Reports have recently been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  These reports inform the American public on the status of health care quality and disparities in the nation, where improvements can be made, and how these issues have changed over time.  Read more »

New American Lung Association Report Cites Lung Cancer Disparities

A new report by the American Lung Association, Too Many Cases, Too Many Deaths: Lung Cancer in African Americans, highlights once again that despite decades of advances in medical technology and research, improvements in health have not been equally distributed by income, race, ethnicity, education, and geography.  When it comes to lung cancer, race and ethnicity truly determine who lives or dies.  Despite lower smoking rates, African Americans suffer from lung cancer more than any other population group in the United States.  African American men are 37% more likely to develop lung cancer... Read more »

Disparities Council Pushes Linguistically and Culturally Competent Care

The Health Disparities Council held its bi-monthly meeting on Monday. Chaired by Representative Rushing, the members focused on legislative opportunities, interpreter services, and the Latino community to address health disparities in Massachusetts. Hank Porten, President of the Valley Health Systems in Holoyoke, opened the meeting by discussing the current steps that are being taken by the legislative working group to improve access and quality of care. The group detailed a roadmap of how they plan on achieving this goal, including payment reform and support of a system-wide redesign. Once... Read more »

Investing in Health Equity in Massachusetts

The Members Lounge at the State House was a standing room only today when the Disparities Action Network (DAN) presented an event titled, Investing in Health Equity: Taking Action to Reduce Health Disparities in Massachusetts. Health Disparities Council Co-Chairs Representative Rushing and Senator Fargo welcomed the crowd, emphasizing the importance of addressing disparities to improve public health and reduce health care costs. Read more »


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