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ChesMRC Hosts 1st Collaborative Community Discussion on Minority Health Disparities

On Thursday, April 20, 2017, ChesMRC hosted it’s first “Minority Health and Health Disparities Collaborative Community Discussion” to focus on health disparities specifically in Talbot County. Thanks to the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Minority Outreach Technical Assistance (MOTA) grant, ChesMRC received supplemental funding to invite organizations throughout Talbot County for a round table discussion to begin conversations discussing the many health disparities minorities face in our community.

ChesMRC welcomed several organizations Including: Eastern Shore AHEC, Talbot County Health Department, Talbot County Hunger Coalition, Housing Commission of Talbot, YMCA, Easton Police Department, Scotts United Methodist Church, Talbot County Democratic Forum, Talbot County Detention Center, Talbot County Association of Clergy & Leity, SEEDCO, BAAM, Inc., Talbot Board of Education, Maryland Senate, Shore-Up Head Start, Associated Black Charities, Home Instead Senior Living, Healthy Families of the Midshore, Shore Regional Health,Temple B’Nai and Asbury United Methodist Church.

The event featured guest speaker, Omeakia Jackson with Harvesting Hope, Youth and Family Wellness, Inc. who gave a presentation on African American Mental/Health Behavioral Health Disparities. The presentation spoke on barriers African Americans face when seeking mental health care and the historical factors that contribute to the disparities seen. Jackson also spoke about the lack of providers cultural competence which contributes to historical misdiagnosis in African Americans when it comes to mental illness.

The rest of the meeting consisted of a brainstorming session allowing all participants to discuss and address the problems that are seen as a community. Four major issues were identified:

  • Cost of CDC Lifestyle Diabetes and Self Management classes and limited funding offered to support these classes
  • Issues dealing with affordable housing and addressing the needs of those that have been incarcerated
  • Language barriers and shortage of interpreters and cultural competency skills in the community
  • Lack of accessibility to offer after hour evening services and weekend services for the community from doctors, social services and developing work plan after hours for the inmates being released or job searching.

The meeting was a great start to having honest conversations about the many health disparities minorities in Talbot County are currently facing. The next meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2017. If you are interested in attending, please contact ChesMRC at 443-786-1120 for more information.

All attendees ended the meeting agreeing to follow procedures needed to join in the advocacy for minority health and health disparities.