Melody Goodman, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, has been appointed to one of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Regional Health Equity Councils.
The 10 Regional Health Equity Councils across the nation are part of the HHS’s National Stakeholder Strategy, which outlines the federal commitment for addressing health equity and health disparities for racial, ethnic and underserved communities.
Members of each council will serve as leaders in this area, ensuring stakeholder collaboration and assets are used to meet HHS goals to reduce health disparities. Each council will have members from the public, non-profit and private sectors who are experts in how social factors affect health.
Dr. Goodman’s expertise and research focuses on identifying the origins of health disparities and developing evidence-based primary interventions to reduce those disparities. She brings unique insight to the Region VII council—which covers Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas—from her years of experience conducting community-based participatory research projects.
“With our current economic environment, collaboration and synergy will be major components in our strategic plan to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health,” Goodman says. “As we are all being asked to do more with less, it is imperative that we forge partnerships, work together, pool resources, identify and share best practices. Often collaborations are able to do things that no one single entity could have done on their own. The Regional Health Equity Council extends this partnership model to include all stakeholders interested in reducing health disparities.”
The Regional VII Health Equity Council convened in October for its inaugural meeting. Goodman says the council has much potential to affect change.
“We have been charged as leaders to strengthen health equity and effectively accomplish health disparity reduction goals. This is an enormous task, but it also presents great opportunities to develop strategies to reduce health disparities,” Goodman says.