It was in 1986, many decades ago, that a group of individuals of color, members of the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) study section of National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) came together in a small hotel room in Bethesda, Maryland to discuss the release of The Secretary’s Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health. The topic being where should we go from here. The group included Dr. John Ruffin, Dr. Frank Talamantes and Dr. Lovell Jones. All of us left that room inspired to do something that was said to be impossible; bring all Americans together to address a health issue as one unit in a bio-psycho-social approach.
Given that Dr. Jones was at the largest cancer center in America, the focus became cancer, and why not a cancer research and an educational symposium focused on the hard to reach. It also meant working getting Congress and the Reagan White House to recognize the need for such an effort. It all goes back to a quote…
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead
It was on Easter Sunday that the Houston Chronicle published the first editorial on health disparities entitled, “Cancer is an Equal Opportunity Disease.” Today, cancer is still an equal opportunity disease. From the Biennial Symposium Series, to the Intercultural Cancer Council (ICC) to the Center for Research on Minority Health (CRMH) to the Health Disparities, Education, Awareness, Research & Training Consortium (HDEART-C) to the HDEART Health Equity Scholars and Alumni (HHESA) Network that the mission to address health inequities continue.
Today, there are more than 650 individuals who are members of the HHESA Network. Our goal is to connect as many of the dots as possible (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lovells-food-thought-connecting-dots-lovell-jones-phd/). You can find the form “HDEART HEALTH EQUITY SCHOLARS & ALUMNI NETWORK REGISTRATION FORM” at https//:hipaa.jotform.com/62678696733171.
The significance of the HHESA Network can also be found this op ed piece (http://stylemagazine.com/news/2019/feb/01/lovells-food-thought-second-appeal-connecting-dots/). If you are ready part of the HDEART Health Equity Scholars & Alumni Network please make sure we have your correct info.
Today, our bio-psycho-social (holistic) approach serves as a model to bring institutions and individuals out of their silos to address health inequities. The importance of this approach is illustrated by the continuing gaps in health care, inequities in access, medical treatment, prevention, screening, and participation in clinical trials.
With over 40 academic institutions and health organizations located in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C., affiliated member institutions in Nigeria and Mexico and individual members of the HDEART Health Equity Council in 45 of the United States and its territories, HDEART C mission is to bring the strengthens of all of the entities to bear on addressing health inequities as a unit, rather than silos.