Race, Class, Gender & Diversity

Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities: The Action Plan from the Department of Health and Human Services

Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities: The Action Plan from the Department of Health and Human Services
Health Affairs, 2011. Volume 30 / Issue 10 / October 2011, pp 1822-1829, Published online

Howard K. Koh, Garth Graham and Sherry Glied
10/12/2011

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently unveiled the most comprehensive federal commitment yet to reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. The 2011 HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities not only responds to advice previously offered by stakeholders around the nation, but it also capitalizes on new and unprecedented opportunities in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to benefit diverse communities. The Action Plan advances five major goals: transforming health care; strengthening the infrastructure and workforce of the nation’s health and human services; advancing Americans’ health and well-being; promoting scientific knowledge and innovation; and upholding the accountability of HHS for making demonstrable progress. By mobilizing HHS around these goals, the Action Plan moves the country closer to realizing the vision of a nation free of disparities in health and health care.

2011 Federal Policy Review

2011 Federal Policy Review
Published by the Women of Color Policy Network, August 2011.

Women of Color Policy Network
08/01/2011

This summary of legislative action pertinent to the Network's federal policy priorities assesses how noteworthy acts and trends in Congress affect the lives of women of color, their families, and communities. Covering the areas of economic security, social equity, and immigration, the brief provides updates on the status of reproductive rights, job creation, safety net programs, and the DREAM Act, among other topics. The Network's assessment of the policy implications indicates that although the federal legislative landscape offers some progressive opportunities for women of color, obstacles to their advancement loom large amongst ongoing budget and deficit reduction negotiations.

First to Fall, Last to Climb: Black Workers in the New Economy

First to Fall, Last to Climb: Black Workers in the New Economy

Women of Color Policy Network
08/01/2011

After decades of slow, but steady economic progress, the Great Recession of 2007-2009 erased many of the previous gains made by Blacks in the labor market. Black unemployment rates have consistently climbed since the recession was declared officially over in 2009, peaking at 16.5 percent in 2010. Employed Black workers, in turn, are disproportionately represented in low-wage, low-skill industries and occupations that offer minimal benefits or opportunities for career advancement. This policy brief provides a snapshot of how Black workers are faring in the labor market and poses policy recommendations for building the long-term economic security of Black workers, their families, and communities.

Resetting our priorities in environmental health: An example from the south-north partnership in Lake Chapala, Mexico

Resetting our priorities in environmental health: An example from the south-north partnership in Lake Chapala, Mexico
Environ Res. 2011 Aug;111(6):877-80.

Cifuentes E, Lozano Kasten F, Trasande L, Goldman RH.
08/01/2011

Lake Chapala is a major source of water for crop irrigation and subsistence fishing for a population of 300,000 people in central Mexico. Economic activities have created increasing pollution and pressure on the whole watershed resources. Previous reports of mercury concentrations detected in fish caught in Lake Chapala have raised concerns about health risks to local families who rely on fish for both their livelihood and traditional diet. Our own data has indicated that 27% of women of childbearing age have elevated hair mercury levels, and multivariable analysis indicated that frequent consumption of carp (i.e., once a week or more) was associated with significantly higher hair mercury concentrations. In this paper we describe a range of environmental health research projects. Our main priorities are to build the necessary capacities to identify sources of water pollution, enhance early detection of environmental hazardous exposures, and deliver feasible health protection measures targeting children and pregnant women. Our projects are led by the Children's Environmental Health Specialty Unit nested in the University of Guadalajara, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Health of Harvard School of Public Health and Department of Pediatrics of the New York School of Medicine. Our partnership focuses on translation of knowledge, building capacity, advocacy and accountability. Communication will be enhanced among women's advocacy coalitions and the Ministries of Environment and Health. We see this initiative as an important pilot program with potential to be strengthened and replicated regionally and internationally.

A Look at SB 1070 and State-Level Immigration Efforts

A Look at SB 1070 and State-Level Immigration Efforts

Women of Color Policy Network
04/01/2011

Arizona's far-reaching anti-immigration bill, SB 1070, sparked a trend of copycat legislation introduced in 30 states. While most efforts were unsuccessful, SB 1070 and copycat laws have severe negative implications for undocumented people and their families, including American children. SB 1070 and similar legislation create barriers for undocumented individuals to report unsafe working conditions and domestic abuse, separate U.S. citizen children from their parents through deportations, and impose undue fiscal burdens on both law enforcement and overall state budgets in economic recession. This brief highlights state policy responses that strengthen economic security through measures that support immigrant families and enrich communities.

Massachusetts Links Pay for Performance to the Reduction of Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Massachusetts Links Pay for Performance to the Reduction of Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Health Affairs. 30(6):1165-1175.

Blustein, Jan, Joel Weissman, Andrew M Ryan, Tim Doran and Romana Hasnain-Wynia.
04/01/2011

The Institute of Medicaid has identified equity as a key dimension of quality. Recently, Massachusetts’ Medicaid program (MassHealth) took the unusual step of linking pay-for-performance (P4P) to the reduction of racial/ethnic disparities for hospital care.  We report on early experience with the program, describing the challenges of implementing an ambitious program in a short time frame, with limited resources.  Our findings raise questions about whether P4P as currently constituted is a suitable tool for addressing disparities in hospital care.

Wage Disparities and Women of Color

Wage Disparities and Women of Color

Women of Color Policy Network
04/01/2011

More women are becoming the primary wage earners in households across the country, yet men continue earn higher wages than women. Occupational segmentation and unequal access to wealth lead to exponentially growing career income gaps for women. This brief explores the policy implications of recent Census data revealing that women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. With Black women and Hispanic women earning even less, targeted policy solutions must incorporate opportunities for women in low-income and marginalized communities. Policies will contribute to greater wage equity if they incorporate: pay check fairness; the extension of paid sick leave benefits to caregivers; and increased access to labor market, child care, and educational opportunities for low-income women.

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