HELEN – Health Equity Network
The Hispanic community in Georgia was greatly affected for the lack of expansion of Medicaid as well as the very minimal funding the state received for navigators and bilingual outreach. Federal funding only paid for 2 Spanish speaking individuals serving the ENTIRE state. While some organizations (like CPACS) thought creatively and empowered almost their entire staff to serve minorities understand and enroll in the ACA, there is still a huge disparities and unequity.
This is the reason why I am so excited about HELEN (Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network).
HELEN works by connecting 3 key components: PEOPLE, IDEAS & INFORMATION through a FREE membership and unlimited access to research, up to date analysis and information on current health policies, laws and their impact on health equity. It connects health equity champions from around the country with the objective to leverage their strengths and expertise to develop, implement, and sustain strategies that reduce health disparities.
HELEN was launched in September and already has over 460 members (organizations and community leaders) across the country and is uploading and sharing research and resources constantly not only related to the state ACA but also in terms of scholarships, rural assistance, loans and others that help move the mark towards a more equitable situation.
Especifically for Latinos, there are very few documents focusing on the disparities affecting our community but we are hopeful that with our membership and work we can add to the “body of knowledge” about our Latinos/Hispanics.
Other relevant documents to review if interested in Latino health in GA are the Status of Latino Health Report 2012 (free download), the report on Georgia Health Equity Initiative (2008). Also, to keep up to date with Health News in Georgia, your best source is Georgia Health News, published by Andy Miller.
Key in this initiative is Daniel E. Dawes, J.D., Executive Director for Government Relations, Health Policy and External Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine, a healthcare advocate instrumental during the negotiations around health reform. He founded and chaired the National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform, a working group of more than 300 national organizations and coalitions that worked to ensure that the landmark health care reform law included health equity provisions to reduce disparities in health status and health care among vulnerable populations.