Joint Center Health Official Challenges Black Doctors to Close Disparities Gap
The country’s nagging health disparities problem was a key focus for Dr. Gail C. Christopher, director of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Health Policy Institute, when she addressed the 102nd annual convention of the National Medical Association on Aug. 2 in San Diego. She issued a challenge for African American doctors: Don’t wait for change; make it happen.
Pointing to a 30-year discussion about disparities, Christopher said, “We do not have the luxury of time. African Americans and other underserved populations cannot afford to wait another 30 years for measurable change, and we as health practitioners should redouble our efforts to close this gap.”
The Joint Center’s Health Policy Institute is already taking steps in that direction. Within the past six months, it has brought legislators, policy-makers and community leaders together to develop models for involving communities in health planning, and has offered policy recommendations for meeting the oral health needs of African American males. It is also turning its attention to the specific needs of America’s youth. The institute’s work is funded by a multi-year, $7 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
A licensed holistic health practitioner and Naprapath (connective tissue specialist) with 25 years of experience in policy and practice, Christopher is nationally recognized for pioneering work linking the health outcomes of underserved populations to the effects of chronic stress related to environmental, economic and social factors.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, conducts research and analysis on public policy issues of concern to African Americans and other minorities, promotes their involvement in the governance process, and operates programs that create coalitions within the minority, business and other diverse communities. For information visit <www.jointcenter.org>.
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