Bridging the Health Care Gap

UConn Today

Wizdom Powell, director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health and professor of medicine. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health Photo)Wizdom Powell is committed to eliminating health disparities, especially those affecting men and boys of color in the U.S. Powell is president-elect of the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities and a former White House fellow. UConn Health Journal checked in with her a year after she took over as head of UConn Health’s Health Disparities Institute.
Q. What are your top priorities for the Health Disparities Institute (HDI) at UConn Health as you begin your second year as director?
A. During my first nine months, HDI underwent an internal, strategic refocusing process. This process involved conducting an organizational 360-degree assessment and reviewing state-level data on health disparities outcomes and populations. It resulted in the identification of four complementary strategic focus areas: health systems change, utilization, and finance; behavioral health; chronic disease prevention and control; and neighborhoods, housing, and health.
HDI is committed to advancing health equity and works explicitly to connect, support, and serve populations at greatest risk for poor health and social outcomes. These goals are accomplished by generating rigorous evidence for action, building multisector coalitions, translating data for policy impact, and accelerating community-sourced innovations. We apply an explicit racial equity lens to our work. We value social justice, youth engagement, and the power of art to amplify community voice and disrupt single stories about the truly underserved.
Q. What initiatives has HDI put in place or advanced in the past year, and how are they helping people?
A. Boys and men of color in our nation are uniquely underserved across a number of health indicators. Currently, HDI is developing several initiatives designed to address social determinants of health, well-being, and health equity among boys and men of color. …

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