A Healthy Blog

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

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

New Year = new Disparities Council schedule

The next Disparities Council meeting will take place on January 26th from 3 to 5 PM in the Conference room adjacent to the One Ashburton Cafe in the building's basement. Starting in March and ending in December, the Council will meet on the 4th Monday of the month from 2 to 4 PM on the 21st floor of One Ashburton. A February meeting time has not been scheduled yet. We'll post meeting agendas as they're available. Read more »

Disparities Council meets

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... Read more »

Health Disparities Council Meets Monday

The Health Disparities Council will meet on Monday December 15th at 10:00 am, at 1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston. Senator Susan Fargo will be introduced as the new Senate Co Chair. View the meeting agenda and other information about the Council on the HCFA Disparities Action Network Council web page. Read more »

Asthma Disparities Higher among US-Born Blacks in Dorchester

A new study led by Tufts researcher Doug Brugge, Ph.D. paints a complex picture of intra-racial asthma disparities among black residents of Dorchester. Administering 479 verbal surveys and collecting self reported race/ethnicity data, Brugge finds American born blacks are more likely to have asthma than those blacks born outside of the country. A number of factors may contribute to this disparity, including differences in immune system sensitivity due to prior exposures from conditions in a home country. The finding is consistent with earlier research that showed a similar disparity within... Read more »

New Health Disparities Council Co-Chair

The Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities will reconvene in December with a new Senate Co-chair. Senator Susan Fargo, who chairs the Committee on Public Health, will work with House co-chair Byron Rushing, to move the Council forward. The meeting, (December 15, 10:00 am, 1 Ashburton, 21st floor, Boston) will focus on priority setting, and the development of an action plan for the state effort to eliminate disparities. For more information on the Disparities Council or to be added to the Council mailing list, contact Yashira Pepin at: Yashira.Pepin@state.ma.us. Read more »

Health Insurers Discriminating against Women – Not in MA!

A recent article in the New York Times (and a column in today’s Boston Globe) revealed new evidence that “women pay much more than men of the same age for individual [health] insurance policies providing identical coverage.” According to a study by the National Women’s Law Center, in Columbus, Ohio, for example, a 30-year-old woman pays 49 percent more than a man of the same age for Anthem’s Blue Access Economy plan. Read more »

Community Voices

On Tuesday evening, the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service (CCHERS) hosted Community Voices, a powerful health disparities photo essay exhibition. Developed by CCHERS in partnership with the Health Careers Academy in 2007, Community Voices is an innovative program that engages youth in understanding and documenting health inequality in Boston neighborhoods. For seven weeks, diverse high school students work with disparities experts, community health organizations, and community members to examine the complex issues underlying health disparities including poverty,... Read more »

UMass Med School Students Kick-off the Unnatural Causes: Health Disparities Interest Group

This past Tuesday, October 7th, a group of students from Worcester UMass Medical School got together to Kick-off the Unnatural Causes: Health Disparities Interest Group. Together they watched and discussed two episodes from the Unnatural Causes documentary series. There was a great mix of about 15 nursing and medical students. The panelists for the night included: Lauren A. Smith, Medical Director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Meghan E.T. Patterson, Director of the Disparities Project at the Boston Public Health Commission, Elmer R. Freeman, Executive Director of the... Read more »

Disparities Council Meeting Report

The Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities met on Monday, September 15th. Chaired by Representative Byron Rushing, the September meeting focused on a presentation on the Council's prioritization process and the working groups’ priorities of the former Special Legislative Commission on Health Disparities. Council members discussed the most appropriate role for the council in a variety of areas, particularly areas that are currently underway including hospital race and ethnicity data collection. The group also debated the addition of new priorities and topics that were not... Read more »

Medical Homes -- More Evidence of Improved Quality for Less Cost

One of the most important provisions of chapter 305, the Health Cost and Quality bill that was passed this summer, is section 30, which directs MassHealth to establish a "medical home" demonstration project. In addition, section 44, which establishes the Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System, puts the issue of medical homes on the agenda for the entire health system. Read more »


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