MDHHS forms 11 regional health advisory councils to combat health disparities

(WILX)
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 12:50 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is forming 11 regional advisory councils to help residents in underserved and rural areas across the state.

The councils will provide a network of community partners that will help improve structural gaps in health emergencies, policies, practices and resources.

“I am proud of the proactive measures we have taken to make health care more accessible to all Michiganders, especially those we know have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. “We know the work to address racial disparities is continuous and the creation of the Regional Health Advisory Councils will bring together federal, state and local public health organizations to meaningfully address disparities related to COVID-19 through strengthening local community organizations that serve these populations.”

This spring, an application request was sent to organizations that would oversee the councils, and function as a backbone organization. They are expected to start serving their areas this month.

MDHHS said that backbone organizations will help support their councils in the following ways:

  • A reduction in COVID-19 disparities in impacted communities specifically among Michigan’s five racial ethnic minority populations:
  • African Americans.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives.
  • Arab and Chaldean Americans.
  • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • Hispanics/Latinos.
  • Planned reduction of community identified priority risk factors.
  • Development and implementation of practices and policies to promote equity and reduce health disparities.
  • Equitable distribution and efficient use of resources to support affected communities including organizations and community leaders – both existing and emerging.
  • Community driven, not agency driven, decision making and priority setting.

The councils are funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support grant.

Council will be established in these regions:

  • Genesee County
  • Ingham County
  • Kent County
  • Oakland County
  • Ottawa County
  • Macomb County
  • Muskegon County
  • Saginaw County
  • Washtenaw County
  • Wayne County
  • City of Detroit

“It’s critical that we do everything possible at MDHHS to combat disparities,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “By working together with community leaders, tribal governments, local government officials and others on the ground of impacted communities we can better understand and serve affected populations. All these efforts make Michigan a better and more equitable place to live.”