Ken Dominguez, MD, MPH, CAPT USPHS
Name: Ken Dominguez, MD, MPH, CAPT USPHS
Title: Medical Epidemiologist
Occupation: Physician (Pediatrician/Preventive Medicine Specialist)
Years at CDC: 27
Public Health Agent of Change Service Record:
How have you worked to advance health equity?
One highlight was working with OMHHE, the Vital Signs staff and fellow CDC scientists to publish the first Hispanic Health Vital Signs in the MMWR. This publication provided CDC’s first comprehensive review of Hispanic health from various perspectives including mortality, prevalence of disease and risk factors, and health care utilization. We were able to show important differences in health outcomes that varied by place of birth. We also developed the first CDC promotore de salud (community health worker) website to share bilingual health education materials to assist promotores conduct health outreach activities for a variety of health topics.
What are you currently doing or have done in your career to reduce health disparities?
According to projections, Latinos/Hispanics will represent one in every four Americans by 2035. I co-chair the CDC Latino/Hispanic Health Work Group (LHHWG) that works to reduce health disparities within this population. LHHWG works to: increase CDC’s focus on Hispanic health, educate students and junior scientists about internship/fellowship opportunities and jobs at CDC, recruit bilingual CDC employees to assist in deployments for health emergencies involving Hispanics, and sponsor a networking activity the third Tuesday of every month. We recently participated in CDC listening sessions about CDC data strategies. Our recommendations emphasized the importance of collecting and reporting information about Hispanic ethnicity, place of birth, language preference, and ensuring appropriate representation and sampling of Hispanic/Latino subgroups in data systems.
How can we work to make achieving health equity a Mission: Possible?
Achieving health equity includes making sure that we have a federal public health workforce that is representative of the population we serve at the national level. It means prioritizing health issues affecting all Americans, including those related to health disparities. Our systems should also collect data that is necessary to reduce health disparities such as the social determinants of health and other key variables that will help inform our efforts to maximize the potential for good health for everyone in our society.