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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Thursday Nov 16, 2023

Our guests are health equity practitioners Christin Zollicoffer and Dr. Bonnie Simpson Mason, who discuss programs and initiatives that are making headway in dismantling structural racism with episode host Claudia Zamora. Together they explore a number of different examples and critical success factors that contribute to success, and mention some common mistakes that organizations may make when establishing initiatives. This is the fourth and final episode in our mini-series focused on systemic bias and systemic racism, and we end with constructive forward steps and an optimistic outlook. 
Christin Zollicoffer is Chief Belonging and Equity Officer at Lifespan Health System. Dr. Bonnie Simpson Mason is the inaugural Medical Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the American College of Surgeons. Claudia Zamora is a consultant who serves on the Board of Directors for the National Hispanic Medical Association and the Board of Directors for Movement is Life.
0:01 Excepts | 2:30 Introductions |5:30 Dr. Simpson Mason shares solution examples | 6:30 Different levels of experiencing oppression | 7:20 Increasing access via Nth Dimensions pathway programs | 9:30 Equity Matters ACGME | 10:45 Medical specialty societies education & communication | 11:45 Christin Zollicoffer shares solution examples | 12:15 Four levels of racism: internalized, interpersonal, institutional, structural | 12:15 Baking in DEI for patients & employees | 15:00 Employee resource groups role | 15:30 Workforce education and skills building | 16:30 Integration of equity practices | 20:15 Community based program Operation Change | 24:00 Importance of trauma informed lens | 29:00 Equity as the 6th domain of care (IOM) | 31:30 Addressing data collection to support equity | 34:00 Claudia Zamora shares examples including NHMA programs | 37:30 Critical success factors for programs e.g. change management & working with the “moveable middle” | 40:10 Definition of equity | 42:15 Common mistakes e.g. tokenism & placing DEI under HR | 46:00 Speaking the language of health equity | 49:00 Are things changing?   
© Movement is Life 2023

Friday Nov 03, 2023

For the third installment of our mini-series exploring systemic bias and racism in healthcare, our panel of experts discuss various examples which illustrate how systemic racism is embedded in systems of healthcare and social determinants of health. These include measurements such as eGFR, BMI, and metabolic panels, scoring for post-operative risk; lack of diversity in dermatology textbooks; and how subjective information that is potentially deleterious to patients may be captured in EMR systems such as EPIC. 
Episode host Christin Zollicoffer (she/her pronouns) serves as Chief Belonging and Equity Officer with Lifespan Health System, an academic medical center affiliated with Brown University and Warren Alpert Medical School.
Dr. Carla Harwell is a nationally recognized leader in health care disparities education and medical issues affecting minorities. She is Medical Director, University Hospitals Otis Moss Jr. Health Center, and Associate Professor of Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine. 
Dr. Daniel Wiznia is Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine. He is the co-director of Yale's master’s program in Personalized Medicine & Applied Engineering.  
© Movement is Life 2023

Thursday Oct 19, 2023

For the second episode in our mini-series exploring systemic racism in healthcare, our panel explores different definitions of bias, stereotyping, systemic racism, and structural racism, and how these behaviors intersect with social determinants of health. Perspectives from both patient and professional viewpoints are addressed. The panel also discuss solutions such as bias training, cultural competency, language competency, self-reflection and mentoring.
Dr. Melvyn Harrington is an orthopedic surgeon and Vice Chair for Community Engagement & Health Equity at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Dr. Elena Rios serves as President & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, (NHMA), representing 50,000 Hispanic physicians in the United States.  Episode host Dr. Charla Johnson is the Director of Clinical Information Systems & Nursing Informatics, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, in Baton Rouge.
0:20 Introductions | 1:55 How patients experience & express bias | 4:45 Harmful stereotyping | 6:40 Bias in medical record | 8:20 Bias as gatekeeper to college admissions & healthcare careers | 10:05 Systemic factors for healthcare workforce | 11:30 Bias steering students away from premed | 12:30 Importance of bias training | 14:40 Resistance towards bias training | 17:10 Differences between structural racism & systemic racism | 21:10 Role of social determinants of health (SDOH) | 24:05 Bias towards people with obesity | 26:10 Bias leading to inconsistencies and inequities | 27:50 Importance of self-reflection | 28:50 Bias causing patients to disengage | 29:30 Importance of cultural and language competency | 30:15 Role of age bias | 30:45 Bias toward minority healthcare professionals | 34:25 Do professionals & patients understand structural and systemic racism? | 37:10 How NHMA works to educate professionals & patients about bias | 41:00 Closing remarks.
© Movement is Life 2023

Saturday Oct 07, 2023

This is the first of a 4 episode mini-series of The Health Disparities Podcast exploring bias & systemic racism in medicine. The series aims to bring to the surface discussions, definitions, & perspectives about the problem of bias, examples of bias, structural & systemic racism, & examples of programs and policies that are tackling bias & racism.
"Unconscious Bias, Yes it is Real" is a useful short guide to understanding unconscious bias, its consequences in healthcare, & some ways to mitigate unconscious bias. It discusses most types of bias impacting the quality of healthcare, including race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexuality, religion, mental health, & weight bias. The "Unconscious Bias, Yes it is Real" booklet is available as a digital download on our website. Movement is Life invites listeners to use the booklet in association with this audio resource as the basis for workshops and discussion groups aimed at improving cultural sensitivity & understanding.
1:35 Introduction – We are all biased | 3:25 What is bias? | 5:30 Types of bias | 8:02 Unconscious or implicit biases | 9:55 Unconscious bias in healthcare | 13:40 Unconscious bias involving weight | 16:12 Unconscious bias involving mental health | 18:20 Unconscious bias involving race & ethnicity | 23:10 Unconscious bias involving gender & gender identity | 28:35 Unconscious bias involving sexual orientation | 30:35 Limitations in research | 32:18 How patients respond to bias | 36:30 Measuring unconscious bias using IAT | 41:50 Counteracting bias in healthcare | 44:30 The LEARN model | 46:00 Glossary | 50:30 Closing comments
Unconscious Bias, Yes it Real - Digital Booklet:
About Movement is Life
Narration by Dr. Michelle Leak & Rolf Taylor.
Adapted for audio from the booklet & produced by Rolf Taylor. 
(c) Movement is Life 2023

Wednesday Sep 20, 2023

The Movement is Life Annual Summit is fast approaching, and thanks to philanthropic support from the Zimmer Biomet Foundation, there is no cost to register. Over two days (Nov 30 - Dec 01) a mix of plenary sessions and workshops will feature a stellar lineup of health equity thought leaders at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown, Washington, DC. Online registration: or Google Movement is Life Summit. 
In our 150th episode of the Health Disparities Podcast, Dr. Michelle Leak hosts a discussion about Summit highlights, exploring the theme of  "Bridging the Health Equity Gap in Vulnerable Communities." Joining Dr. Leak are Movement is Life Chair, Dr. Mary O'Connor, and Vice-Chair Dr. Carla Harwell. Attendees can hear a sneak preview of the program and also consider which two of the four workshops they will want to attend. 
We hope to see you at the Summit, but if you can't make it there is a plan B, as many of the Summit speakers will be joining us on the The Health Disparities Podcast after the event. 
(c) Movement is Life 2023. 
*please note this schedule is not final and is subject to change*

Tuesday Sep 05, 2023

Very few physicians can name Dr. LaSalle Leffall and Dr. Clive Callender as pivotal mentors in their career, and also cite their experiences growing up with sickle cell as another important teacher. In a wide ranging discussion with fellow surgeon and Howard University alum Dr. Randall Morgan, Dr. Frederick explores some of the most important aspects of mentorship. He also discusses developing young leaders in science, the ongoing evolution of Howard University, and the challenges of building a diverse healthcare workforce that is better able to meet the needs of a diverse population. Dr. Frederick also talks about why his frequent visits to Trinidad to teach science are so important to him, and how he will enjoy his upcoming sabbatical. Recorded at the recent National Medical Association annual meeting in New Orleans. 
Dr. Wayne Alix Ian Frederick is a Trinidadian-American scholar, surgeon, and university administrator. He is currently serving as president of Howard University in Washington D.C. since July 21, 2014. He also serves as the distinguished Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery.
Dr. Randall Morgan is an orthopedic surgeon based in Sarasota Florida, and the Executive Director of the W. Montague Cobb Institute. He also serves on the steering group of Movement is Life. 

Tuesday Aug 15, 2023

Michaele Turnage Young, Senior Counsel at Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), joins orthopedic surgeon Tamara Huff, MD, MBA, to discuss the recent SCOTUS ruling on the Fourteenth  Amendment which has impacted affirmative action.
According to the Legal Defense Fund, "the Supreme Court has bowed to pressure from anti-civil rights activists, finding that Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s affirmative action programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This radical decision comes at a time when efforts to advance opportunity in education have been under attack across the country, and the need for such programs remains acute."
Although the ruling is widely considered as a barrier to DEI efforts, Michaele Turnage Young shares an optimistic analysis of the ruling with Dr Huff. She outlines the many areas of DEI activity that the ruling does not affect, and discusses strategies which admissions officers can adopt. Central to this approach is supporting the mission of the many institutions aiming to address health disparities in underserved communities, where lived experience is a key qualification. 
For further information on LDF please visit: &
© Movement is Life Inc., 2023
“It’s really important to understand what this ruling does and does not cover.”
“It seems to be a coordinated effort to cause a chilling effect, to lead people to retreat from efforts to further equal opportunity. These efforts have not been successful thus far.”
“Black students were 13% of US high school graduates, but only 6 % of students enrolled in large selective public colleges, while white students were 50% of US high school graduates and 56% of students enrolled in large selective public colleges.” (2020-2021 academic year).
“If you are charged with looking for talent, you want to do so in an objective way that serves your mission, and it might be that the mission of your school has something to do with serving communities that have long gone underserved.”  
Producer: Rolf Taylor

Wednesday Aug 02, 2023

When the supreme court struck down race-conscious admissions this year, they ended policies of affirmative action that have helped to diversify college campuses since 1978. The ruling is considered detrimental to efforts to cultivate a representative healthcare workforce. At this year’s annual National Medical Association scientific assembly in New Orleans, Dr. Ruth Simmons was the keynote speaker at a symposium organized by the Cobb Institute, in association with Movement is Life (1). In this episode she explores the implications of the SCOTUS ruling with Dr. Tammy Huff, a board director for Movement is Life and an orthopedic surgeon.
In 1995, Dr. Simmons became the first African American woman to head a major college or university upon being named president of Smith College. Here, she established the first engineering program at a woman’s college. In 2001 she was selected president of Brown University, making her the first African American woman to head an Ivy League institution. She was later appointed President of Prairie View A&M University, the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state of Texas. Most recently she joined Rice University, in her home state of Texas, as a President’s Distinguished Fellow, and is an advisor on HBCU engagement to Harvard University.
(1) “From Hopwood to Harvard: Anti-Affirmative Action in Higher Education Admissions Amidst Systemic Racism and Historical Racial Inequities in Health.”
© 2023 Movement is Life, Inc.
Host:           Dr. Tamara Huff, Vigeo Orthopedics 
Production:          Rolf Taylor, Project Advocacy
Executive Producer:     Dr. Randall Morgan, Cobb Institute 
“Merit has often been defined in the past in a political context. We cannot give so much credit to assertions of merit that are fundamentally rooted in something that is corrupt.”
“I want us to begin to talk about human worth in different terms, and not these, I would say, lazy ways of classifying people.”
“Seeing yourself as worthy of healthcare, seeing yourself as worthy of education, seeing your family and your children as worthy of something better – is powerful.”

Tuesday Jul 18, 2023

From COVID to Katrina to soaring temperatures, when disasters strike it is our most vulnerable communities that are on the emergency frontline, and it’s our underserved populations who experience the most disproportionate impact – and widening health disparities.
The mission of Healthcare Ready  is to help build resilient community health infrastructure that is prepared for, can respond to, and able to recover from disasters and disease outbreaks. One of their specific goals is to ensure historically underserved communities and medically fragile populations can access medications and medical care during a pandemic or natural disaster.
In this episode, Healthcare Ready’s Executive Director Tom Cotter shares some of the ways that the organization goes about helping to prepare communities for disasters, and how these approaches target the drivers for better health equity. With host Rolf Taylor.
© Movement is Life 2023

Monday Jul 03, 2023

Research findings from Mayo Clinic & published in the Journal of the American Heart Association at the end of 2022 found that “participating in religious activities, from church services to private prayer, as well as holding deep spiritual beliefs, are linked to better cardiovascular health among Black Americans.” According to Dr Brewer of the Mayo Clinic, multiple socially determined challenges which were magnified by COVID-19 are preventing African Americans from living their best lives by following a healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease.
The recent study focused on better understanding some of the psychosocial influences on health behavior change among African Americans, and in particular following those activities as defined by The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential 8TM.” These include eating well, being active, quitting tobacco, healthy sleep, weight management, controlling cholesterol, managing blood sugar, & managing blood pressure. 
The study found that increased church attendance and spirituality was associated with higher levels of physical activity and less smoking, suggesting that having social support and an optimistic outlook may also encourage individuals to practice healthy behaviors.
Today’s discussion features Robert “Clarence” Jones, M. Ed., CPH, CHW, CPE, Executive Director at the Hue-MAN Partnership and a Community Engagement Strategist, along with Mayo Clinic cardiologist and study lead author Dr. LaPrincess Brewer, MD, MPH, whose primary research focus is in developing strategies to reduce and ultimately eliminate cardiovascular disease health disparities in racial and ethnic minority populations and in underserved communities. Dr. Brewer is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic.
This episode is hosted by Dr. Mary O’Connor, Chair of Movement is Life and Co-Founder of Vori Health.
Copyright Movement is Life 2023


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