COVID-19 Webinar Series Session 18 – Health Inequities: Addressing the Disease Burden in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Communities

Adaeze Enekwechi, Ph.D., MPP, is the president of IMPAQ, a 400 person policy research and analytics firm that comprises three entities: IMPAQ International, a public policy research and analytics firm; Maher & Maher, a learning solutions provider; and ASCEND, a technology and information product company. Dr. Enekwechi provides strategic oversight of all research, technical assistance, and technology services across all policy and program areas, including health care, workforce development, social programs, and international development. Prior to joining IMPAQ, Dr. Enekwechi served as vice president for policy, strategy, and analytics with a consulting firm. She also served as the associate director for health programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Obama. As the Federal government’s chief health care budget official, she provided policy, management, and regulatory oversight for over $1 trillion in spending on a range of Federal programs, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and all Federal health agencies. At the OMB, Dr. Enekwechi managed the review and approval of all major Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation reform proposals, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015/Quality Payment Program rulemaking, and many Food and Drug Administration policies, Medicaid negotiations, Zika, and other public health funding requests. Dr. Enekwechi is highly experienced with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, playing a key role in driving ACA budget, policy, strategy, and operational coordination with various agencies, including the Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Office of Personnel Management, among others. Dr. Enekwechi completed a BA at the University of Iowa, an MPP at the American University, and a PhD in Health Services and Policy from the University of Iowa. Her research area covers social determinants of health, long-term care, and evidence-based policymaking. Dr. Enekwechi is a research associate professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and was a visiting professor at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. Her teaching focuses on Federal health policy, the US health care infrastructure, health equity, and evidence-based policymaking. She also serves on the boards of directors and advisors for a number of health care organizations.

Contact: Barbara Dempson, bdempson@impaqint.com

 

Rachel Hardeman, Ph.D., MPH., is an associate professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota. She is a reproductive health equity researcher whose program of research applies the tools of population health science and health services research to elucidate a critical and complex determinant of health inequity—racism. Dr. Hardeman leverages the frameworks of critical race theory and reproductive justice to inform her equity-centered work which aims to build the empirical evidence of racism’s impact on health particularly for Black birthing people and their babies. Dr. Hardeman’s research includes a partnership with Roots Community Birth Center, in North Minneapolis, one of five Black-owned freestanding birth centers in the United States. Her work also examines the potential mental health impacts for Black birthing people when living in a community that has experienced the killing of an unarmed Black person by police. Published in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Hardeman’s research has elicited important conversations on the topics of culturally-centered care, police brutality and structural racism as a fundamental cause of health inequities. Her overarching goal is to contribute to a body of knowledge that links structural racism to health in a tangible way, identifies opportunities for intervention, and dismantles the systems, structures, and institutions that allow inequities to persist. Dr. Hardeman is the recipient of several award for her work as an early career investigator including the Dr. Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award from the University of Minnesota (2019) the 2020 recipient of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASSPH) Early Career Public Health Research Award. She was recently named a McKnight Presidential Fellow awarded for her excellence in research and scholarship, leadership and recently received the AcademyHealth Alice S. Hersh Emerging Leader Award for the impact her research has had on health policy. She is also active locally and nationally with organizations that seek to achieve health equity such as the Minnesota Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood of the North Central States. Dr. Hardeman earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and Spanish from Xavier University of Louisiana, an MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy and a PhD in Health Services Research and Policy from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Contact: hard0222@umn.edu

 

Wizdom Powell, Ph.D., MPH, is the director of The University of Connecticut Health Disparities Institute and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health. She serves as the president of the American Psychological Association, Division 51 Men and Masculinities, and is an honorary professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. Her local, national, and international health research investigates the interplay between stress (e.g., race-related), social constructions of masculinity, and Black male health disparities. In 2011-2012, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as a White House Fellow to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. In addition to being a White House Fellow, she is an American Psychological Association (APA) Minority, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Burch Leadership, Institute of African American Research, and Ford Foundation Fellow. Dr. Powell was awarded a 2017 academic writing residency at the Bellagio Center from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Contact: wpowell@uchc.edu

 

Laurie Zephyrin, M.D., MPH, MBA, is the vice president of health care delivery system reform where she leads the Vulnerable Populations portfolio. Dr. Zephyrin has extensive experience leading the vision, design, and delivery of innovative health care models across national health systems. From 2009-2018, she was the first National Director of the Reproductive Health Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs spearheading the strategic vision and leading systems change through the implementation of evidence-based policies and programs to improve the health of women veterans nationwide. In 2016-2017, she served as Acting Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care, and later in 2017, as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care. While directing the VA’s Community Care program, a key component of VA’s high-performance network with an operating budget of over $13 billion, Dr. Zephyrin spearheaded efforts to implement legislation, develop internal governance structures, and address patient outcomes through system-wide optimization of care delivery. As part of the leadership team, she also represented VA before Congress and other internal and external stakeholders. Dr. Zephyrin is a board-certified clinician. She is a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone School of Medicine (2013-present) and was previously an assistant professor at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons (2007-2012). She earned her M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine, M.B.A. and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University, and B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the City College of New York. She completed her residency training at Harvard’s Integrated Residency Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Contact: lz@cmwf.org