Karen E. Bouye, PhD, MPH, MS
Name: Karen E. Bouye, PhD, MPH, MS
Title: Senior Advisor for Research, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity
Occupation: Health Scientist
Years at CDC: 30
Public Health Agent of Change Service Record:
How have you worked to advance health equity?
One memorable moment was hosting workshops for the CDC director and staff on the importance of achieving health equity, reducing health disparities, and measuring health disparities. CDC staff participation was overwhelming in these exercises. Not only were they interested in the discussions, but they were also motivated in learning about disparities and finding ways to eliminate them.
What are you currently doing or have done in your career to reduce health disparities?
I am proud of my work in helping to develop two CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR), “Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities – Selected CDC Sponsored Interventions, United States, 2014” and the CDC MMWR “Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities – Selected CDC Sponsored Interventions, United States, 2016.” These two publications detailed various CDC-supported programs that showed promise or demonstrated effectiveness in reducing health disparities. The research showed that reducing health disparities is not just a myth, but can be achieved.
How can we work to make achieving health equity a Mission: Possible?
Achieving health equity means that every individual has the opportunity to attain his or her highest level of health. Yet, there are many inequities that prevent people from living at their fullest potential. At CDC, it is important to collaborate with other professionals and organizations focused on education and housing, as these are important sectors in achieving health equity. Improving the quality of life and health status for all Americans means addressing the social determinants of health including access to care, as well as eliminating discrimination.