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National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) Blog: Fostering Partnerships to Advance Health Equity Across the Heartland Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC VII)

posted Jun 27, 2018, 1:58 PM by Tech Support   [ updated Jul 3, 2018, 8:26 AM by daniel yoo ]
An Interview with RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee Co-Chair, Janelle Ali-Dinar, PhD

Introduction: The Heartland Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC VII) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Region VII Midwestern Public Health Training Center (Region VII MPHTC) to advance health equity across the region. RHEC VII is one of 10 regional health equity councils (RHEC) formed in 2011 as part of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). With 30 volunteer members from various sectors, RHEC VII encompasses Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. In this blog post, we interview Dr. Janelle Ali-Dinar, PhD, who co-chairs RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee about the committee and the MOU. We discuss why and how this partnership was developed and what the partners hope to achieve.

phy: Dr. Ali-Dinar, PhD, serves on the Nebraska Department of Health Human Services (DHHS) Minority Health Council , the Nebraska Preventive Health Advisory Committee, and co-chairs RHEC 
artnership Committee.

1. Please tell us more about RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee.
RHEC VII wants our work to set the tone for the nation in developing healthier communities, especially for our most vulnerable populations. The primary task of the Partnership Committee is to identify and collaborate with local organizations outside of council representation who would like to “co-grow” work to advance health equity in the region. We partner with organizations focused on our priority areas, including chronic diseases, data collection, innovation care models, population health solutions, leadership, workforce, and recruitment/professional development. To formalize partnerships, we have developed MOUs with local academic and training institutions—agreements outlining terms of understanding for action that include each party’s responsibilities. Other organizations can use MOUs to advance and formalize community-academic partnerships to address health disparities in their own regions.

2. Can you discuss the impetus for partnership with the Region VII Midwestern Public Health Training Center (MPHTC)? What do you aim to accomplish?
Building the capacity of the public health workforce across our region will be critical to advancing health equity; with that in mind, the MOU with the Region VII MPHTC was born. The overall goal of the Region VII MPHTC is to ensure the current and emerging public health workforce has the capacity to address current and future public health challenges. Many of RHEC VII’s council members graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Public Health – Great Plains Leadership Institute, which receives support from the MPTHC. An MOU with the center seemed like a natural fit. With Region VII MPHTC, we aim to support health equity through workforce development activities for public health and healthcare practitioners.

3. Please tell us how you are leveraging this partnership for shared collaborations, resources, and initiatives of work.
Together, RHEC VII and the Region VII MPHTC are building resources and capacity to complement one another in connections and advancement of opportunities related to public health initiatives. For instance, the RHEC VII Partnership Committee serves on the 2017 Regional Steering Committee and the MPHTC Diabetes Training and Education Advisory Committee. Within the library of the Region VII MPHTC, RHEC VII hosts quarterly webinars on chronic diseases and models of health care and services for our communities. Our webinars have a wide national audience that includes professionals from a range of fields, including health care, public health, academia, research, and nonprofit and other community organizations. Webinar topics have focused on diabetes management; community health workers (CHWs), liaison work between primary care providers and tribal nations; and diabetes care models and initiatives. Through our partnership, we also provide speakers and experts for conferences, such as the Iowa Health Summit keynote on diabetes models of care for innovation and reimbursement optimization. We have received appreciation of our work together thus far and look forward to collaborating on additional opportunities. As Co-chair of the RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee, I am grateful for all of our great work being done together with the Region VII MPHTC.