Health outcome measures for racial and ethnic minorities lag behind white Americans. They are less likely to get preventive care, more likely to suffer from serious illnesses, and when they get sick, less likely to have access to quality health care.
According to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “for the first time, the United States has a coordinated road map designed to give everyone the chance to live a healthy life.” She emphasized that “we all need to work together to combat this persistent problem so that we can build healthier communities and a stronger nation.”
Goals of the HHS Action Plan include transforming health care and expanding access, building on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This includes expanded insurance coverage and increased access to care. The plan also calls for more opportunities to increase the number of students from populations underrepresented in the health professions, train more people in medical interpretation to help serve patients with a limited command of English, and train community workers to help people navigate the system.
These strategies require passionate, committed, and skilled leaders. In response, many organizations including Change Matrix are taking steps to engage in this work. Change Matrix has committed to two focus areas – Leadership Development and Health Disparities and Equity and to serve as a change agent in ensuring health equity and quality of care for all Americans.
Change Matrix serves as a faculty member on the National Council’s Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program (AHD). The AHD program will begin in August 2013 and run through May 2014. The program includes three in-person meetings in which participants will participate in a learning community to gain knowledge of strategies to eliminate health disparities, and enhance their management and leadership skills to effectively implement these strategies. Attendees will also develop “stretch projects” — an opportunity to expand their leadership capacity and benefit their organizations’ efforts in addressing health disparities.
In addition to in-person meetings, attendees will participate in bimonthly webinars, monthly one-on-one calls with faculty/professional coaches, and a peer-to-peer support system through monthly calls and social media. These activities will be structured to enhance their KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes) and support implementation of stretch projects.
Attendees will acquire knowledge and strategies to address health disparities. They will also gain knowledge about effective leadership and management skills to effectively manage the dynamics of change that will occur as they implement these strategies in their organizations and their communities.
Attendees will be current “middle managers” (intermediate supervisor with direct reports and reporting to others within the organization) in community mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery settings. These attendees must be able to directly influence policies, structures, and practices within the organization to address health disparities.