Health Equity

Ensuring that health care and human services are accessible to all individuals is the priority of the Greater Lowell Health Alliance Health Equity Task Force.


We invite you to join us.

 

Who We Are

cultural-Competency2

The mission of the Health Equity Task Force is to increase the capacity of healthcare and human service providers to encompass and provide better services to individuals of diverse backgrounds. The Health Equity Task Force fulfills this mission by increasing awareness for social determinants of health, cultural competency and health disparities within the Greater Lowell area.

Task Force Chair
Mercy Anampiu, Lowell Community Health Center

LGBTQ Subcommittee

This subcommittee addresses the potential
risk facing members of the LGBTQ
community by educating local businesses, community organizations/agencies, and health providers in the region so that they are better able to serve the LGBTQ community. The 2016 & 2019 Greater Lowell Community Health Needs Assessments revealed that members who are isolated or without family support are at risk of developing mental health, substance abuse, and other issues due to lack of sensitivity to this community by many healthcare professionals, a lack of outreach, as well as a lack of awareness of transgender individuals.

Health Equity Task Force Initiatives:
Bridging the Gap Interpreter Training

Professional Medical Interpreter Training: An intensive 40-hour training program that prepares participants for national certification.  Offered through Lowell Community Health Center two times per year.

No re certification process -Upon completion of the program – you are certified for life! There have been over 350 professional medical interpreters trained thus far.

Our GOAL – to link people trained through the Bridging The Gap Training with agencies in need of medical interpreters to increase access within our communities.  

* GLHA Scholarships Available – The GLHA offers 5 scholarships a year to the BTG program.  For more information please contact Kerrie D’Entremont.


Join Us

cultural-competencyWe invite you to join us in our efforts to improve access to quality health care and human services for all individuals. Attend one of our task force meetings or contact Chair Mercy Anampiu to learn about how you can get involved. The Health Equity Task Force meets
10 – 11:30 a.m. on:

  • Thursday, February 22, 2024
  • Thursday, March 28, 2024
  • Thursday, April 25, 2024
  • Thursday, May 23, 2024
  • Thursday, June 27, 2024
  • Thursday, July 25, 2024

Addressing the Need

Cultural competence in health care and human service describes the ability to provide care to individuals with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors. Cultural competency has a positive effect in health care and human service delivery by enabling providers to deliver services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse members of the community.

Nationally

  • Barriers to cultural competency in health care and human services include a lack of diversity in health care’s leadership and workforce; systems of care poorly designed to meet the needs of diverse patient populations; and poor communication between providers and individuals/patients of different racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities have higher morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases, while having less access to health care and health insurance.
  • Language and communication barriers can affect the amount and quality of health care received. Of the more than 37 million adults in the U.S. who speak a language other than English, some 18 million people — 48 percent — report that they speak English less than “very well.”
  • Adult literacy surveys estimate that 40 to 44 million Americans do not have the necessary literacy skills for daily functioning. Those with low literacy skills use more health services, and the resulting costs are estimated to be $32 to $58 billion — 3 to 6 percent — in additional health care expenditures.

Locally

The 2022 Greater Lowell Health Needs Assessment, a collaborative effort of the GLHA, Lowell General Hospital, and University of Massachusetts Lowell, has identified needs for improvement in culturally competency in a very diverse region.

Those most at risk were identified as the elderly; low-income individuals; LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer/questioning) community; undocumented immigrants; and members of the Cambodian, Brazilian, Latino, Portuguese, African, and Burmese communities.

For additional resources, visit our Resources page.


Our Impact

Since its inception, the Health Equity (previously known as Cultural Competency) Task Force has successfully reached out to the community to increase awareness of cultural diversity and collaborate with community partners to break down barriers and improve cultural sensitivity and competency.

Past Initiatives

Past Initiatives:

  • Progress continues with the Healthcare Navigation Video, which will guide new immigrants in navigating the healthcare system. The GLHA, has finished videos in the following languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Khmer & English. We are currently working on adding Hattian/Creole to the list of languages available. The videos can be found HERE
  • GLHA assisted the City of Lowell in bringing back the PRIDE Festival in 2022.  PRIDE 2023 was a huge success and the committee is currently planning an even larger event for 2024.
  • The task force revived the Healthcare Navigation Video that was in full swing pre-pandemic,
    recording the narration (with the help of a University of Massachusetts Lowell student), and moving ahead with a local videographer to begin developing the visual content.
  • For the 2022 PRIDE festival, the GLHA collaborated with The Center for Hope and Healing and the City’s Cultural Affairs and Special Events (CASE) to develop a PRIDE month calendar and a local resource guide for 2-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Non-Binary folks. The 2SLGBTQIA+ RESOURCE GUIDE can also be found here.