Women of all colors have historically faced discriminatory practices by health insurers and racial and ethnic minorities have suffered disproportionately from health disparities. The Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform, in partnership with a diverse set of organizations and individuals, seeks to engage women of color in Maryland’s health care reform implementation and the audacious goal of health equity for all.
This fall, the first Health Care. Women of Color Get It. conference was held at Morgan State University. Congressman Elijah Cummings and others framed the conference as a national model, which is extremely rewarding because, at the outset, its very concept was described as audacious with the caveat that such a diverse group could not be convened at the same table. We said—yes we can and yes we did! Our table was set with chairs that included those for African American, Spanish speaking, Native American, Asian Pacific and Caucasian. Everyone shared a common belief —that from the most privileged to the most vulnerable—all deserve access to the high-quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care.
Having set a large table, we must now expand it further by including others, especially health care providers. We are planning future programs that include webinars and forums that will focus on cultural competency, health literacy, outreach to vulnerable populations and navigator training. In these efforts our goal will be to advance health equity and promote a culture of care for all Marylanders. In doing so, we encourage others to join us at the table.