Christian Cooper’s life threatened while bird watching in Central Park. Ahmaud Arbery murdered for jogging through a suburban neighborhood. Police brutality causing the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and countless others before them. The cruel, and too often fatal, reality of health disparities faced by the Black community tragically amplified by COVID-19. Recent events across the nation have left us, like so many, feeling bereft, angry, and overwhelmed. But we also feel empowered to take action — empowered to figure out how we can use what we do at the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) to be a positive catalyst for change.

Our mission at CHCS is to improve the health of people served by Medicaid. We are keenly aware of the profound impacts of broader social and political forces on individual and community health, including the many ways that structural racism affects all Black communities, irrespective of income.

As we share in the pain and anger being expressed across our nation, we understand the direct link between our mission and a broad push for racial justice. This push must include addressing the health disparities — and all the social and economic factors that contribute to them — that are exacerbated by our nation’s unseemly history of racism and discrimination.

At CHCS, we are working with our partners across the country to promote equity in access to high-quality care and health outcomes. This includes, for example: supporting states in their efforts to collect data to identify and monitor disparities; promoting innovative consumer engagement strategies; integrating trauma-informed and person-centered care on a broad scale; and linking health care payments to efforts to reduce and eliminate disparities where they exist.

Importantly, we are also looking in the mirror. Over the past year, our staff-led Equity Workgroup has coordinated honest, and sometimes difficult, exchanges among our staff where we have been able to learn together how to support a more equitable workplace.

We join the national call for racial justice. We do not have all the answers. But we are listening and are dedicated to doing our part in ending systemic violence and intentional disenfranchisement against Black Americans in this country. We are committed to honest and action-oriented dialogue — among CHCS staff, with our partners, and with the communities we serve — to identify the best ways to promote a culture of equity for all. Anything less is unacceptable.

With hope for the future,

Allison Hamblin and the CHCS Team

About the Center for Health Care Strategies

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a policy design and implementation partner devoted to improving outcomes for people enrolled in Medicaid. We support partners across sectors and disciplines to make more effective, efficient, and equitable care possible for millions of people across the nation. Learn more.