October 27, 2016
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Black Caucus Convenes Health Equity Commission

 WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Donna Christensen convened the inaugural meeting of the Health Equity Leadership Commission this morning – a new Commission assembled by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Health Braintrust, with members that have substantive expertise in one or more areas of public health, health policy and health equity.  “Our purpose is to ensure that the provisions that serve to eliminate health disparities and foster health equity are implemented to the fullest extent,” said Congresswoman Christensen. “We were also pleased to have the participation of Majority Whip James Clyburn at our inaugural meeting,” she said.

The Health Equity Leadership Commission was established not only to ensure that pertinent health care reform information is communicated to those in and serving racial and ethnic minority communities, but also to monitor and serve as an expert resource on health equity and health disparity elimination to the Obama Administration and to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the various provisions in PPACA are planned, announced, implemented and evaluated. 


 “While the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) marked a historic day in this nation; a day that very few believed would ever occur, the real work of ensuring that meaningful health care reform is achieved is only beginning,” noted Congresswoman Christensen.  “This is particularly true of the numerous health equity provisions that are included in the new law.”    

Congresswoman Christensen chairs the new Commission which includes:


Mr. Daniel Dawes, Premiere Inc.

Dr. Willarda Edwards, Past President, National Medical Association

Ms. Millicent Gorham, National Black Nurses Association, Inc.

Atty. Peter Hiebert, Winston and Strawn, LLP

Dr. Marjorie Innocent, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Tom LaVeist, Professor and Director, Center for Health Disparities Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; William C. and Nancy F. Richardson Professor in Health Policy

Mr. Bruce Lesley, First Focus

Ms. Myla Moss, National Dental Education Association

Mr. Chris Porter, NovoNordisk

Dr. Brian Smedley, the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Ms. Makani Themba-Nixon, The Praxis Project

Ms. Britt Weinstock, Office of Congresswoman Donna Christensen

Ms. Fredette West, Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition

Ms. Mara Youdelman, National Health Law Program


“Myriad provisions in PPACA offer the potential for all of us who have been on the front lines of health disparity elimination to take our collective efforts and their positive impact further upstream in a manner that will finally curb some of the disastrous health disparity trends that we see reported each year in and among racial and ethnic minority communities and populations across the nation and in the U.S. Territories,” observed Congresswoman Christensen.  “However, if they are not implemented, implemented poorly, or inadequately funded, then the promise of health equity in health care reform will never become a reality.”

Congresswoman Christensen, a physician who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands in Congress, said:  “I am humbled and excited that the nation’s premiere health equity experts have accepted my invitation to serve on this Commission, and I look forward to working with this Commission, Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration to ensure that we leverage every opportunity under health care reform to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.”

Congresswoman Christensen and her health policy advisor Britt Weinstock will meet with the Governor deJongh’s Health Care Implementation Task Force later this month.


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