Community Voices hosted the inaugural cohort of the Health Communities Initiative (HCI), June 18-23, 2017 on the campus of Morehouse School of Medicine. The Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) is designed to close the gap between academic medicine or academic health centers and communities of greatest need by connecting to people who are most affected by disparities. Attendees included 12 currently elected Mayors and County Commissioners, 4 former elected Mayors and City Council persons, and 26 community partners representing health departments, tribal communities, and city governments representing Shelby County, TN (Memphis); Baltimore, MD ; DeKalb County, GA (Decatur) ; Prairie View, TX, Porch Creek Indians (AL), Jackson, MS; Alameda County, CA (Oakland), Cook County, IL (Chicago); Ramsey County, MN (St. Paul), Hayneville, AL; Boligee, AL; Mound Bayou, MS; District Heights, MD; Holly Hills, SC; Lisman, AL and New Orleans, LA.
The HCI is designed to mobilize and engage mayors, county officials, other elected officials and their teams by enhancing their health leadership skills, providing community health resources, and motivating leaders to influence policies and implement health projects that will eliminate health disparities. The attendees for this executive cohort range heard from local leaders such as Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, Baltimore Police Chief Melvin Russell, APHA Past President Dr. Camara Jones, HHS Regional Administrator Sharon Ricks as well as a host of leaders and subject matter experts from the Morehouse School of Medicine Faculty and Staff. This program provided an opportunity for in-depth engagement in exploring panoply of topics that will give participants concrete tools to enable effective engagement of multidisciplinary sectors, and resources required to improve health and community well-being. This event was endorsed by the World Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and the National Association of Black County Elected Officials and made possible through the generous support of the Kresge Foundation.
Starla Hairston Blanks, MBA, MPH
Director, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved