Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Health Equity Matters Newsletter

Summer 2016 - Vol. 4, #4

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.

Summer arrived in Atlanta with a vengeance! The heat, however, was no match for the excitement that always comes with the arrival of the CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program (CUPS) students and the James A. Ferguson Graduate Fellows to CDC! This fifth year of the program boasts 170 undergraduates and 11 graduate students from across the country! Since the launch of the CUPS program in 2011, over 16,000 students have applied and 913 undergraduates have completed the program! We are heartened by the promise of the next generation of public health workers, researchers and policymakers. In addition to the CUPS and Ferguson programs, we hosted the 3rd Millennial Health Leaders Summit.  These graduate-level public health students, medical students, and public policy students came wanting to move beyond a familiar analysis of the problem to identifying what actions must be taken to turn the tide of health inequities.  We were impressed by the breadth of their knowledge and the depth of the commitment to see all communities attain the highest level of health possible. Along with our partners, we want to send a special “shout out” to the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health for assisting us in recruiting this year’s cohort of Millennial Health Leaders! They raised the bar for future Summits!

Adding to this summer’s excitement was a Congressional Briefing on Advancing Health Equity & Optimal Health for All sponsored by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and co-sponsored by the House Bipartisan Congressional Public Health Caucus. The leadership that inspired this Congressional Briefing came from Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health and the current ASTHO President. To a standing room only crowd, six speakers addressed opportunities for advancing health equity at the national, state, and local levels. We heard from Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County and sitting NACCHO President about the establishment of the Center for Public Health Leadership, Health Equity, and Research among other activities in Seminole County that are accelerating health equity, and Ms. Nancy Rockett Eldridge described how the National Center for Healthy Housing is pursuing “health in all housing policies.” Ms. Doran Schrantz, Executive Director of ISAIAH talked passionately about the role of faith leaders in promoting health equity, and Dr. Soma Stout, Executive Lead of 100 Million Healthier Lives – an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, shared strategies of this innovative national program to “fundamentally transform the way we think and act to improve health, wellbeing, and equity.” I was honored to be part of this extraordinary panel to highlight some of the federal initiatives in place to address health equity and work underway in the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity to advance the science and practice of health equity at CDC and in governmental departments of public health.  Kudos to Dr. Ehlinger and the public health leaders across our nation who have taken on the charge and the challenge to advance health equity!

As I write this Introduction to our summer issue of Health Equity Matters, our nation is reeling and grieving the senseless loss of the lives of police officers and citizens. We are one nation, and we share in the agony of these recent events and those that preceded them.  The great poet Gwendolyn Brooks once said “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” I believe this is also the soul of what we seek in our efforts to achieve health equity.     

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