New York, October 10, 2016 … Members of the Northeast Health Equity Consortium (NHEC) agreed to a strategic plan to address health inequities and disparities in eight states –Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont — at their inaugural meeting in Old Saybrook, CT on October 4.

Following presentations by Eduardo Sanchez, MD, CMO, Prevention and Center for Health, Science Operations, American Heart Association and Garth Graham, MD, MPH, FACP, FACC, Founders Board member and President of the Aetna Foundation, the group had a robust discussion regarding how social determinants of health can significantly impact cardiovascular health.

In addition, the group reviewed a prototype dashboard which tracks health inequity by state and race and/or ethnicity across the eight state region. As the dashboard is fine-tuned, the consortium hopes to expand its measures to include other variables, such as gender and socioeconomic status; as well as, drill down to regions and cities – possibly neighborhoods – within each state. Its ultimate goal is to issue a Health Equity Report Card.

The consortium’s next steps include forming a Leadership Development workgroup to expand membership, a Community & Partnership Development workgroup to enlist communities to help develop solutions; a Data Analytics workgroup to crunch data and build out the health disparity dashboard; an Annual Meeting workgroup; and, a Program & Education workgroup to develop targeted workshops and presentations for communities and employers. Finally, the consortium will develop a public website to share resources, post presentations and meeting minutes, provide work group progress reports and share research outcomes and success stories.

“The Northeast Health Equity Consortium is not going to be a ‘think tank’ but rather a ‘do tank,’ said, Cheryl Pegus, MD, MPH, co-chair of the consortium and Immediate Past President of the American Heart Association’s Founders Affiliate Board and Clinical Professor of Medicine and Population Health, Director, Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation, NYU School of Medicine. “We are pleased that so many community leaders and healthcare providers share our vision,” said Keith Churchwell, MD, FACC, FAHA, FACP, consortium co-chair, Founders Affiliate Board President and Vice President and Executive Director of Heart and Vascular Services, Yale New Haven Hospital. “Working together we can begin to make an impact on health disparities and inequities in our region, and eventually across the country.”

Of the fourteen consortium members, four are from New York City, including co-chair Dr. Cheryl Pegus; Amanda Parsons, VP of Community & Population Health Montefiore Health System-Montefiore Medical Center; April Rogers, MD, MBA, Aetna/Association of Black Cardiologists; and Daniel M. Suarez, MA, RN, President, NY Chapter, National Association of Hispanic Nurses.

The NHEC, which focuses on primordial and primary prevention; systems of, and delivery of care; social determinants of health; patient-centered outcomes research, community engagement, and community-based participatory research, was established by the American Heart Association with the generous support of the Aetna Foundation.



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