New England Health Equity Council Celebrates First Anniversary

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Join RHEC in its first anniversary annual meeting held on Thursday, July 26th at the Northeastern University Alumni Center

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Our council has been fortunate to begin its work building on a shared New England ethic, close geographic proximity, and comparatively good health that we aim to improve in a way that advances health equity for communities of color, said Ralph Fuccillo.

The New England Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) will celebrate its first anniversary at its annual meeting on July 26, 2012 at the Northeastern University Alumni Center. The RHEC was formed during the summer of 2011 when council members drawn from all six New England states were convened to explore a regional approach to addressing health disparities and the social causes that lead to poorer health outcomes for people of color. The New England RHEC is the regional arm of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA), the first national multi-sector community and partnership-driven effort on behalf of health equity.

With input from communities, organizations and practitioners, the NPA created the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity. This strategic action plan includes the formation of 10 Regional Health Equity Councils with members who serve as leaders and catalysts to improve health equity.

“Our council has been fortunate to begin its work building on a shared New England ethic, close geographic proximity, and comparatively good health that we aim to improve in a way that advances health equity for communities of color,” said Ralph Fuccillo, co-chair of the council.

The first year predictably involved establishing structural supports to foster regional collaboration, including leadership, governance, and working committees. The first year also afforded council members opportunities to learn together, including sessions about strategies for improving workforce diversity in health organizations and ways to talk about health reform in terms that are relevant and understandable to the public. “The NPA and New England RHEC are burgeoning into a microsystem for members to receive and then diffuse health equity solutions back into their home states, communities, and workplaces,” added Fuccillo.    

In addition to leaders from traditional healthcare-focused organizations, council members come from diverse backgrounds including education, technology, environmental justice, economic development, and business to reinforce the need for multi-sector linkages as a key strategy for ending health disparities in America.

Building on the foundation laid over the last 12 months, at the July 26th annual meeting the council will establish priorities for a focused initiative that all New England states can coalesce around in order to launch the potential that transcends the borders of individual states.

To learn more about the NPA and the regional councils visit http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/npa.

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Ralph Fuccillo

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