framing in addressing health disparities and the impact that the nation’s demographic changes are having on health disparities.
The purpose of the Roundtable is to convene various groups of people and continue to have a dialogue. As a Roundtable is not a formal Institute of Medicine committee, the members do not make recommendations. Workshops serve as a way to present and disseminate ideas to a broader audience of people, including policy makers, government agency staff, members of the health care workforce, and interested participants from the general public.
On May 11, 2009, the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities sponsored a public workshop to discuss the role of state and local policy initiatives in reducing health disparities. With the advent of health care reform at the federal level, it is all the more important that ways of reducing existing disparities and promoting health equity at the state and local levels be examined. Institutional policies, such as those created by health plans, should also be studied in conjunction with state and local concerns. In this summary, information about policies to reduce disparities within Kaiser Permamente and Allina Health System is also presented.
The workshop, entitled State and Local Policy Initiatives to Reduce Health Disparities, was organized to look beyond federal initiatives to the state and local levels to learn more about what works. The hope is to advance the dialogue about health disparities by facilitating discussion among stakeholders in the community, academia, health care professions, business, policy-making entities, and philanthropic organizations. The goal of the meeting was to discuss how to highlight the importance of “community” when ways to address health disparities are addressed. A focus on several different geographic areas could help identify commonalities in community strategies, best practices, and lessons learned from community successes and failures in addressing health disparities.
The workshop began with the presentation of a paper commissioned by the Roundtable and authored by Larry Cohen, Rachel Davis, and Sharon Rodriguez of the Prevention Institute and Anthony Iton of the Alameda County Department of Public Health. Their paper, A Time for Opportunity: Local Solutions to Reduce Inequities in Health and Safety, outlines several dozen recommendations for reducing health disparities and promoting