Structure of the Region II Health Equity Council 

The Region II Health Equity Council (RHEC II) aims to end health disparities in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. RHEC II maintains a diverse membership representing several sectors such as state government, academia/higher education, health care delivery, private sectors, and civic/non-profit. The diversity in RHEC II ensures adequate input from diverse sectors in the council’s efforts to understand and address health disparities in the region. 

The council’s activities are coordinated by two Co-Chairs, and directed by three committees, each led by two chair persons:

Council Co-Chairs and Executive Committee Leads 
  • Moleto Smith Jr.
Health Data and Infrastructure Committee
  • Noreen Michael, PhD 
  • Firoozeh Vali, PhD, MA, MS
Outreach and Education & Youth and Engagement Empowerment Committee
  • Gwendolyn Powell, BBA, Finance
  • Albert Bryan, Jr, MBA
Policy Committee
  • Ivy Turnbull, EdM, LP.D.
  • Shaniece Charlemagne

Ongoing Activities and Accomplishments:

  • Developed partnerships with the University of Virgin Islands Nursing School and Virgin Islands Department of Health 
  • Hosted two emerging scholars from the U.S. Virgin Islands to work with the Health Data and Infrastructure Committee to identify data gaps and data collection issues in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico 
    • Identified gaps in health disparities and health equity data for Region II, in particular for U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico 
    • Conducted literature search to determine best practices related to collecting health-related data on island populations 
    • Developed literature review on Community Based Participatory Research, which showed advancement in general knowledge of key indicators, future funding opportunities, resource identification, and potential databases as a vehicle to expose youth to research skill building 
  • Designed and implemented a Workable/NPA RHEC II 2013-2014 Summer Health Institute, designed for youth ages 14 & 15, held at the University of the Virgin Islands 
    • Curriculum provided 10 lessons around health disparities and teaches youth that they are individually responsible for getting involved 
  • Utilized emerging leader to look into health equity issues and develop report focused on diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and immunization 
  • RHEC Member, Bob Like, MD, MS, gave CLAS presentation Fostering Health Equity Through Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service Delivery: A Call to Action on May 1, 2014 at the NPA All RHEC Meeting 
  • Co-Sponsoring the May 24, 2013 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) webinar “Best Practices for Improving Cultural Competency in the Health Care Workforce” (Bob Like, MD, MS was a co-presenter) 
  • Developed the first ever needs assessment for U.S. Virgin Islands with specific health disparities focus 
  • Created collaborative partnerships with community-based organizations for ACA outreach and education efforts 
  • RHEC II Council member, Sheila Thorne Implemented ACA education, outreach, and enrollment activities involving policy makers, the media, and faith-based organizations in New Jersey and New York. Increased enrollment in the health insurance market place 50 events, over 1000 individuals impacted 
  • Work of the data committee (e.g., emerging professionals supported work to identify data gaps in the Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico and how they can be addressed) 
  • Convened meetings on community outreach 
  • Presentation on Hepatitis B model for outreach and education at last year’s meeting resulted in collaborations (e.g., New Jersey Hep-B Coalition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] grant to support the New York-New Jersey Hep-B Coalition that was the first model of cross-state collaboration) 
  • Developed draft Health Equity Scan for Region II
  • Developed proclamations for April’s Minority Health Month. Signed by New Jersey and USVI governmental officials
  • Submitted via the NPA Blog on Proclaiming April as National Minority Health Month (6/12/2015)

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