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Health Equity Matters Newsletter

Spring 2016 - Vol. 4, #3

A quarterly e-newsletter in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) shares news, perspectives and progress in the science and practice of health equity.

Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA

Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Equity, CDC/ATSDR

Welcome to Health Equity Matters, an electronic newsletter intended to promote awareness of minority health and health equity work at CDC and in the broader public health community, support the achievement of our goal to eliminate health disparities, improve women’s health, support diversity and inclusion in the public health workforce, and foster ongoing communication and collaboration with our partners and the public.

Spring has arrived in Atlanta with robust levels of pollen to greet us (most days). This is my favorite time of the year, because it is the season of renewal, transformation, and new beginnings. As I reflected on the many accomplishments of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) over the past 5 years, the year 2016 brings a new opportunity for us to reimagine our priorities, create new partnerships and nurture established ones, and strategically elevate our work and expertise both internally and externally to advance health equity. We have made important progress in articulating the science and practice of health equity as captured in the special supplement of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice described below, and we are happy to announce the release of the second MMWR supplement on Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities – Selected CDC-Sponsored Interventions, United States, 2016 which is also highlighted in this issue of the newsletter. Yes, we can reduce health disparities! Many CDC scientists and practitioners worked to make these supplements possible, and on behalf of OMHHE, I extend our thanks and congratulations to all of the authors! “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller)

I am particularly excited about this issue of Health Equity Matters, because it comes after having to postpone its regularly scheduled quarterly release given that several members of OMHHE were deployed to assist with both the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. Eva De Vallescar, one of our Health Communications Specialists and Principal Editor of Health Equity Matters, was deployed twice to Guinea where she worked with the community and other international partners to design and implement a health education campaign to prevent the spread of the virus. CAPT Craig Wilkins, Senior Advisor, was also deployed to assist with the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, and most recently, Julio Dicent Taillepierre, team leader for the Initiatives and Partnerships Team, just returned from Brazil where he worked with a research team of epidemiologists and Brazilian health workers to further examine the relationship between the Zika outbreak and microcephaly among pregnant women in one part of northeastern Brazil. We also had members of our Office assigned to the Emergency Operations Center here at CDC to support different aspects of the global and domestic response to the Ebola outbreak. Benita Harris McBride, public health analyst on the Initiatives and Partnerships Team, shares some of her experience in this issue of Health Equity Matters.

As you read through the newsletter, you will see that OMHHE and our colleagues across CDC, as well as in our sister federal agencies, have continued to provide extraordinary leadership and make significant contributions over the past 6 months to advancing health equity and reducing health disparities in the U.S. and with our global partners, such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

April is National Minority Health Month and this year’s theme is “Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation.” On April 22, 2016, we are pleased to partner again with Tuskegee University and Morehouse School of Medicine to co-sponsor the second annual Public Health Ethics Forum. The forum is titled Making Latino/Hispanic Health Count: Advancing a Public Health Ethics Framework on Data Collection for Social Justice, and joining this collaboration are the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. There is information about how to register if you want to participate in this event in person or via webcast. You don’t want to miss it!

Since the last issue of Health Equity Matters, we have welcomed new colleagues to OMHHE and had to bid farewell to some others. All in all, the spring of 2016 is filled with promise as we pursue the vision of OMHHE which is “A world where all people have the opportunity to attain the best health possible.” Thanks for all you do to make this vision a reality!

Minority HealthWe hope you enjoy it, and we welcome your comments.

Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA
Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Equity, CDC/ATSDR
Office of Minority Health & Health Equity (OMHHE)

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