Name: Mary Hall
Title: Tribal Liaison, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of the Director
Occupation: Health Scientist
Years at CDC: 21
Public Health Agent of Change Service Record:
How have you worked to advance health equity?
Early in my career at CDC, I learned a great deal by working with communities in the Americas to help them evaluate their health promotion work. By celebrating their history, and connecting with others who shared their desires for change, they were able to improve the wellbeing for the entire community with very few resources. Another highlight was working with Office of Minority Health and Health Equity staff and scientists from across the agency to plan the State of Health Equity (SHE) forum at CDC. I learned how powerful CDC can be in the way we do our daily jobs to advance health equity. The concept of health equity can be broad, and achieving it requires that CDC staff in all disciplines and across a broad range of public health work see their place in it. The dialogues made possible by the SHE forum have been crucial to help all of us at CDC reflect upon the role we can play to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to attain the highest level of health.
What are you currently doing or have done in your career to reduce health disparities?
As liaison with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s tribal programs, I help ensure that CDC is providing resources directly to tribal communities and tribal organizations to implement locally derived and culturally relevant strategies to prevent chronic disease. This means that our tribal partners are using CDC recommended strategies that are effective, and tailoring them to the various cultures, geographies, and resources in Indian Country. Our tribal work utilizes science, recognizes community wisdom, and honors tribal sovereignty.
How can we work to make achieving health equity a Mission: Possible?
I think it is important to recognize that public health cannot resolve the problems we face as a nation alone. In places where CDC may not have direct impact, we can continue to partner with people and organizations that do have a direct impact to help them improve these conditions. I also think it helps to view communities through a lens that considers their strengths and assets, and to support them by sharing resources and best practices while also celebrating their successes.