184264 Massachusetts health reform: An opportunity for eliminating disparities and creating health equity

Monday, October 27, 2008: 12:45 PM

Elmer Freeman, MSW, PhD(c) , Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Boston, MA
Camille Watson, MS , Health Care For All, Boston, MA
Meghan Patterson, MPH , Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Roxanne Reddington-Wilde, PhD , Action for Boston Community Development, Inc., Boston, MA
Linda Sprague Martinez, MA, MA , Community Health Program, Tufts University, Medford, MA
As Massachusetts implements health reform and universal coverage for all its residents, advocates see an opportunity for addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care as integral to reform. Ever since the IOM report, Unequal Treatment was issued in 2002, the Massachusetts public health community has turned its focus to the elimination of disparities through a variety of structures and mechanisms. In 2004 the legislature appointed a special commission for the elimination of health disparities; Chapter 58, the health reform legislation of 2006 included a Disparities Council; the Mayor of the City of Boston initiated a multi-year, multi-million dollar Disparities Project through the Boston Public Health Commission in 2007; and this year the Governor's budget proposed an Office of Health Equity under the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Advocacy groups, health care providers, professional associations, and community organizations, led by Health Care for All and Critical MASS came together to form the Disparities Action Network which filed legislation to address issues of health inequities in the state. This session will provide an overview of the strategies employed in the state and its capital city to lead in health reform that will result in the elimination of disparities and create health equity for the residents of the Commonwealth.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify and develop public health policy initiatives to address racial and ethnic health disparities on a statewide basis. 2. Identify and apply relevant strategies for use in political policy advocacy in health services research and public health practice. 3. Develop and promote education and awareness about racial and ethnic health disparities in communities of color.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Health Reform

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Active in organizing around disparities and health equity. CBPR on racial/ethnic health disparities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.