Innovation in Healthcare: NYU Wagner's Health Equity Today Discussion

On February 8, 2024, NYU Wagner hosted its Health Equity Today: Inequality and Innovation event, a thought-provoking gathering of students, alumni, and healthcare leaders to examine pressing issues in health. The Health Equity Today event series—conceived by Dr. Richard Park, a physician, entrepreneur, and esteemed member of NYU Wagner's Health Advisory Board, alongside Professor Carla Jackie Sampson, Director of Health Programs—convenes experts in health and facilitates dialogue on the most pressing issues surrounding healthcare access, the social determinants of health, and policy reform.

This year's installment brought together a diverse group of individuals to explore and address the multifaceted nature of health equity. Dr. Michelle Morse, Executive Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, took the reins as the event's keynote speaker. With a background encompassing public health, social medicine, anti-racism education, and activism, Dr. Morse leads the agency in bridging public health and healthcare, ensuring alignment with healthcare systems, and serving as a crucial liaison to clinicians in New York City. Dr. Morse's commitment to health equity is exemplified by her experiences, including coordinating earthquake and cholera response work in Haiti, co-founding EqualHealth, and serving as an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. She holds a B.S. in French, an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

In conversation with Ganesh Ram (MHA 2024), a current student in Wagner's Online Master of Health Administration (MHA) program, Dr. Morse discussed her extensive experience and dedication to public health. This set the stage for a practical dialogue on the essential measures required to advance health equity in the dynamic landscape of New York City. The event provided a platform for attendees, allowing them to engage with critical topics, ranging from systemic barriers to healthcare access to the intricate web of social determinants influencing health outcomes. Dr. Morse adeptly navigated through these complexities during the conversation, offering valuable insights and potential solutions. As the discussions unfolded, it became clear that achieving health equity requires collaborative efforts and innovative solutions. Dr. Morse emphasized the importance of community engagement, policy advocacy, and the incorporation of technology to bridge existing gaps. Her vision for a more inclusive and accessible healthcare system resonated with the audience, sparking further dialogue and a shared commitment to driving positive change.

Students from Wagner's Online MHA program also attended the gathering as part of the program's immersive learning experience, enriching the discussion with diverse perspectives and insights. The evening concluded with a reception, providing attendees with an opportunity to network, reflect on the discussions, and solidify their commitment to advancing health equity. Professionals, academics, and advocates alike shared ideas and experiences, fostering a sense of unity in the pursuit of a healthier and more equitable future for all.

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