The Health Disparities Podcast

The Health Disparities Podcast is the world’s leading health equity discussion forum and is a program of Movement is Life. This podcast features thought leaders in the world of equitable health, and highlights health disparities, social determinants of health and community-led solutions.

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5 days ago

Mental health is an important part of our overall health, but many people confront barriers that keep them from accessing the mental health care they need.
A program in Boston aims to  address mental health disparities by disrupting traditional health care models. The Boston Emergency Services Team, or BEST, is led by Dr. David Henderson, chief of psychiatry at Boston Medical Center. 
BEST brings together mental health providers, community resources, law enforcement, and the judicial system to deliver care to people in need of mental health services.
Henderson says bringing mental health providers alongside police responding to calls for service for mental health needs has helped reduce the number of people with mental illness ending up in jails and prisons.
“The criminal justice system has, by default, become one of the largest mental health systems … around the country as well,” Henderson says. “People with mental illness are in jails and prisons, at a percentage that they really should not be.”
Henderson speaks with Health Disparities podcast host Hadiya Green about what it takes to ensure people in need of mental health services get the help they need, why it’s important to train providers to recognize unconscious biases, and what it means to provide trauma-informed and culturally sensitive care.

Wednesday May 08, 2024

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has the following message for health equity advocates: forge respectful relationships with people with different viewpoints — and pay close attention to the words you use.
“We need to learn to speak in a language that resonates with folks,” Adams says. “When that happens, you will get better policy making.”
Adams recounts his experience – both as the 20th U.S. Surgeon General and as the former state health commissioner for Indiana – in an interview with Health Disparities podcast host Claudia Zamora.
He also discusses his new book, Crisis and Chaos: Lessons From the Front Lines of the War Against COVID-19, explains why diversity in medicine matters, and talks about the importance of dismantling stigma to increase access to mental health care and addiction treatment.

Wednesday Apr 24, 2024

There’s a long history of racism in both education and health care. But some health equity advocates — including Michellene Davis, President and CEO at National Medical Fellowships — are holding onto hope that real change is possible.
“The only reason why I like the name, the title ‘social determinants of health,’ is because anything that has been socially constructed can be socially deconstructed,” Davis said. “Health disparities do not naturally occur in nature, they have been manmade, right? So now it's time for us to unmake them.” 
In this week’s episode, host Dr. Tamara Huff speaks with Davis, along with Jennifer Holmes, Senior Counsel with the Legal Defense Fund, who works on cases that advance racial justice in the areas of educational equity, economic justice, and voting rights.

Wednesday Mar 27, 2024

It’s important that health care workers provide quality health care. But when it comes to addressing health disparities, clinical care can only go so far, says Dr. Diana E. Ramos, an OB/GYN who now serves as California’s first Latina surgeon general. 
“It would be wonderful if that 10-minute appointment that a patient just saw me for made the biggest difference in the patient's life. That's not the reality,” Ramos said. “We have to [take] into consideration the environment that the people live in.”
Ramos says cross-collaborative partnerships between health care providers and community partners are critical to addressing health disparities.
In the latest episode of the Health Disparities podcast, host Dr. Claudia Zamora speaks with Dr. Ramos about what these kinds of cross-collaborative partnerships can look like, and what it takes to improve the health and wellbeing of people in California – and the nation.

Wednesday Mar 13, 2024

Many envision influencers as social media stars with vast followings. But being an influencer is so much more than that. In today’s episode, we redefine the term across various sectors, from health to social justice, and delve into how you can activate your network by using your influence.
One thing influencers do is share information throughout their communities to spread awareness about important issues, says Beth O’Connor, the executive director of the Virginia Rural Health Association, 
“People want to know more,” O’Connor says. “And people who are often in those mineral age groups are thrilled to be able to share that information with the people in their communities helping to influence health care policy.”
This week on the Health Disparities podcast, hosts Sharon LaSure-Roy and Sarah Hohman discuss strategies for being an influencer and making a difference with O’Connor, along with Taelor Bakewell, vice president of influence marketing with Edelman, Jerail Fennell, director of marketing and communications at 904WARD, and Dr. Maria Portela Martinez, chief of family medicine at the department of emergency medicine with George Washington Medical Faculty Associates.

Wednesday Feb 28, 2024

Nonprofit organizations rely on funding to execute their mission, but steady funding is not always easy to come by. So, what can leaders of nonprofits do to attract attention — and resources — from foundations and corporations with money to give?
Many funders want to understand an organization’s impact — and quantifying and conveying that impact can take many forms, says Velma Monteiro-Tribble, former director of grants and programs for the Florida Blue Foundation.
“People think that there is money lying around; money is tighter today,” she said. “And people are looking at those that really can tell the story... Quantifying, to me, doesn't mean that it's always in data and statistics. It’s also through storytelling. And I think that organizations, nonprofits especially, should be in the business of doing that today.”
This week on the Health Disparities podcast, hosts Rev. Willis Steele and Dr. Erick Santos join Monterio-Tribble and Al Reid, the former VP of corporate development with Abbott Laboratories. Together, they delve into valuable insights and strategies for attracting funders during challenging times.

Wednesday Feb 14, 2024

In a nation where healthy choices often take a back seat, Dr. Marc Watkins, chief medical officer at Kroger Health, advocates a transformative shift: viewing food as medicine.
Watkins is spearheading a mission to eradicate food insecurities, paving the way for a healthier America. 
“If we’re going to change the way America eats, we have to lead around making sure we have a variety of foods in our stores that represents an adequate format of foods that makes sense for Americans to purchase at the right price,” Watkins says. 
This week on the Health Disparities podcast, host Dr. Mary O’Connor and special guest Marc Watkins, M.D., discuss the strategy Kroger Health is using to empower customers to make informed and health-conscious choices at the grocery store.

Wednesday Jan 31, 2024

When it comes to self-care, many people think of taking a break due to exhaustion or burnout. But the acts of self-care that make a real difference go beyond self-soothing, says Ariel Belgrave, an award-winning health and fitness expert, wellness consultant, and the founder of Gym Hooky. 
Belgrave challenges people to consider self-care as an investment in their future selves.
“The mindset shift I challenge folks to have is: thinking about the future version of you,” Belgrave says. “...The reality is: Taking care of yourself now could be the difference between your independence and being in a nursing home.”
This week on the Health Disparities podcast, host Dr. Tamara Huff and Ariel Belgrave debunk self-care myths and explore alternative approaches to prioritizing yourself using the P.A.U.S.E. method.

Wednesday Jan 17, 2024

Many people who go into medicine come from well-off families and don’t know what it’s like to live in poverty. So when they graduate and become physicians, they can struggle to understand why their therapeutic interventions aren’t improving the lives of their patients.
This, according to Dr. Pedro José Greer Jr., is because med schools have not done a great job helping their students understand the social determinants of health — the many nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes.
“It's not for the student physician to be able to resolve the social determinants, it's for them to really understand what they are,” Greer said. “Without understanding all these other things, we're not going to make [the] right therapeutic calls.
“The health outcomes in this country are embarrassingly bad,” he added. “So we have to be driven to improve those disparities.”
Greer is an American physician of Cuban descent and founding dean of the Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Medicine. He spoke with Health Disparities podcast host Claudia Zamora about how to improve medical education, why diversity matters, and why it’s critical that med schools train doctors to show compassion and empathy for their patients.
The conversation was recorded in person at the 2023 Movement Is Life annual Health Equity Summit.

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