At its Sept. 24 meeting, the MMA’s Board of Trustees approved a series of recommendations from the MMA’s Health Disparities Work Group, including a call for the association to help Minnesota physicians reduce racial and ethnic health disparities in their practices.
The 17-member work group, chaired by Fatima Jiwa, MBChB, a pediatrician in Rogers, met from August 2015 through August of this year. Its seven recommendations to the board included:
• Providing education to physicians, residents and medical students in an effort to raise knowledge/awareness of racial and ethnic health disparities
• Providing resources to assist physicians and their practices in addressing racial and ethnic health disparities
• Recognizing that factors such as health care financing, non-diverse health care workforce, living wage, housing and public transportation have had a negative effect on the quality of and access to health care experienced by racial and ethnic minorities. Also recognizing that racial and ethnic health disparities are a consequence of the structural and institutional racism that exists in hospitals and health care systems in the state
• Supporting initiatives that will lead to increased funding for those social services that are essential to a patient’s health and help them overcome the health inequities they face
• Supporting efforts to incorporate information on health disparities, health equity and the social determinants of health into the undergraduate and graduate medical education curricula of the medical schools at the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic
• Supporting an increase in the number of underrepresented minorities in health care fields
• Having the MMA’s board assess MMA policy and advocacy recommendations through a health equity lens, as a way of maintaining a focus on reducing health disparities.
Next steps for the MMA will be to convene an advisory group to assist with the implementation phase of the recommendations.
For more details on the recommendations and on the MMA Health Disparities Work Group, click here.