Monday, April 09, 2007
The Disparities Action Network
On Friday, April 6, LHI hosted the meeting of the Massachusetts Disparities Action Network. This is a group convened by Critical MASS -- a statewide coalition of people and organizations committed to eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities -- and Health Care for All. Information about the DAN can be found on the HCFA web site, right here.
The most important DAN activity right now is following the progress of legislation that we developed to create a new statewide Office of Health Equity, with a mandate to "coordinate all activities of the Commonwealth to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities." The office will have various resources and powers, which are described in the legislation, which has now been introduced by Rep. Byron Rushing and numerous co-sponsors in both houses. You can read the current version of the bill here. This legislation will create a new philosophy of state governance, in which all policies have to be considered in light of their impact on health equity, which is a fundamental element of social justice.
There will be a hearing on this, and related legislation, before the joint Public Health Committee, at some time in the coming weeks. We'll let you know when it is scheduled, and I hope we'll pack Gardner Auditorium and prove to the legislators that the people of Massachusetts really care about this breakthrough act -- which will establish Massachusetts as a national leader.
And, of course, LHI is proud to be a part of it.
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