Shaping the future of health care to reflect needs of our communities
We and our Affiliates work daily to address and resolve the challenges faced by our communities throughout the country. One of our key areas of work is health and wellbeing.
Our community still faces a high rate of uninsured people, as well as historically high rates of heart disease, cancer, and low birth weight. These realities have made the American Hospital Association (AHA) and UnidosUS come together to address these disparities and improve health equity in the care our community receives.
The AHA is a nonprofit organization of health care provider organizations and individuals advocating to “ensure that members’ perspectives and needs are heard and addressed in national health policy development, legislative and regulatory debates, and judicial matters.” You can learn more about AHA here.
UnidosUS is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, and one of the issues we focus on is health, working to advance heath equity and opportunity in Latinos through policy analysis, advocacy, and partnerships with community organizations.
It only seemed natural that our two organizations would work together with the mission of creating healthier, equitable and stronger communities. “We saw an opportunity to shape the future of care beyond the doctors office to reflect patients’ needs and community’s assets,” says Rita Carreón, UnidosUS’s Deputy Vice President of Health.
Jay Bhatt, AHA Chief Medical Officer, emphasizes that “through our alliance, we are working together to make sure the diversity of our patients is reflected at all levels in health care.”
H.E.R. Communities Podcast Series
One of the partnership’s focus areas that fulfills this shared mission is the Healthy, Equitable, and Resilient (H.E.R.) Communities program, which works on youth violence prevention and trauma-informed care. These discoveries will be shared with community-based organizations, hospitals and health systems, and H.E.R. Communities will provide them with tools and shared best practices to address the challenges they face.
HEAR THE PODCAST TODAY
Hearing how other communities are working on these issues can spark ideas on what we can accomplish. For that reason the AHA – UnidosUS strategic alliance has launched the H.E.R. Communities podcast series.
We will be showcasing innovative partnerships that promote action and collaboration between AHA member hospitals and UnidosUS Affiliates who are working together to respond to challenges of disparities, violence, and trauma. We also want to share how community and health care leaders can work together to advance health equity and social justice.
In our first podcast, “Breaking Down Mental Health: Disparities in Access to Mental Health Services”, we feature Saint Anthony Hospital’s Collaborative for Community Wellness and UnidosUS Affiliate Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. This Chicago-based collaborative includes 22 community-based organizations; they meet once a month and are very active in ensuring our community’s health care needs are covered. Their last meeting was on Friday, March 15, at Port Ministries in Chicago.
The Collaborative published a report in 2018 that shared a key finding: mental health disparities by zip codes. The zip codes corresponding to high economic hardship community areas in Chicago yielded an alarmingly low ratio of licensed clinicians per residents. On the other hand, the report found the highest ratios of licensed clinicians are predominantly concentrated in low economic hardship areas. This finding emphasizes gaps in mental health service access among the predominantly high economic hardship community areas on Chicago’s Southwest side.
Learn more about this issue by listening to the podcast here:
And stay tuned for the upcoming podcasts in this series: “Research and Policy: How Health Disparities Data Informs Change” and “How Clinical-Community Collaboratives Innovate”.
Find out more about the AHA-UnidosUS Alliance below:
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