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April 24 – Great Lakes RHEC Opens Webinar Registration for “Thirty Years and Counting: The Impact of the Heckler Report in Minority Communities.”

posted Apr 9, 2015, 1:58 PM by Tech Support   [ updated Feb 27, 2017, 1:55 PM ]
On April 24, 2015, the Great Lakes Regional Health Equity Council (Great Lakes RHEC) invites you to join the webinar, Thirty Years and Counting: The Impact of the Heckler Report in Minority Communities. The abstract and speaker biographies of the webinar can be found below. Please click here to register.


Thirty Years and Counting: The Impact of the Heckler Report in Minority Communities will explore the historical significance of the 1985 Secretary's Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health, commonly known to as the Heckler Report, and the resulting response of Michigan and Ohio to create statewide entities dedicated to addressing Minority Health issues. 

Disparate health outcomes had been long documented in local and state health department data statistics from the beginning of the 20th century. For example, W. E. B. Dubois edited a volume on disparate health outcomes for African Americans in 1906. However, the Heckler Report was the first comprehensive assessment documenting overall minority health status in the United States. The report developed the term "excess death," which was defined as the difference between the number of deaths experienced in minority populations when compared to the deaths from similar conditions in majority populations. Former Secretary Heckler exhibited the courage and fortitude to illuminate and develop a strategy to address these conditions and not just file away the data as previous administrations had done. 

In direct response to the Heckler Report, the Director of the Michigan Department of Public Health convened a task force in1987 to study the status of minority health in the state. The task force issued a report titled “Minority Health in Michigan: Closing the Gap,” which led to the establishment of the Michigan Office of Minority Health (MI-OMH) in 1988. In 2004, the MI-OMH was renamed as the Health Disparities Reduction and Minority Health Section (HDRMHS) to reflect a greater emphasis on understanding and addressing social determinants and their impact on minority health status. In 2006, Michigan drafted Public Act 653 – Michigan’s Health Disparity Law as an amendment to the Public Health Code. 

The State of Ohio’s response to the Heckler Report began in 1986 with Executive Order 85-69 by State Representative Ray Miller, which created the Governor’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. The Task Force’s findings led to the Ohio General Assembly’s passage of Amended Substitute House Bill 171, creating the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. The Commission was the first concerted effort by a state to address the disparity in health status between majority and minority populations. 

Speakers will explore the advocacy, development, and passage of minority health legislation, specifically the 2006 Michigan Public Act 653 and the 1987 Ohio Amended House Bill 171, focusing on policies and programs to increase health equity for communities of color in these two states. 

Speaker Biographies

Charleta B. Tavares, 
Chief Executive Officer, Columbus Neighborhood Health Center, Inc.
Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) was elected to serve Ohio's 15th Senate District in November, 2010. She is a committed public servant who served as a member of Columbus City Council from 1999 to 2010. Tavares' state and national reputation as a leader in the areas of health and human services was instrumental in her appointment to serve as the Chair of the Columbus City Council's Health & Human Development Committee. Sen. Tavares was the first African-American female to serve in the state legislature from Franklin County and the first African-American woman ever to hold a leadership position in the Ohio General Assembly.

Sen. Tavares currently serves as Executive Director of Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence, a statewide non-profit membership organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of care in Ohio's behavioral healthcare system and to incorporate cultural competence into systems and organizations that provide care to Ohio's vulnerable and at risk populations. 

Former State Senator/Representative Ray Miller, Ohio General Assembly 
Ray Miller is the publisher of The Columbus African American news journal and a former Ohio State Senator. For 24 years, Miller served as a member of the Ohio General Assembly--16 years in the House of Representatives and eight years as a State Senator. He was a prolific legislator and is well known for being the chief sponsor of legislation which established the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, The Institute for Urban Education at Central State University, first time State funding for Head Start in the State of Ohio and many other major reform and systemic change initiatives. 

Believing strongly in community service, Mr. Miller currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Central State University. He is a Life Member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the NAACP. In addition, he is an active member of Second Baptist Church located in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from The Ohio State University. He and his wife Marty have one son, Ray Miller III. 

Othelia W. Pryor, PhD, Executive Director, Michigan Minority Health Commission
Othelia Pryor is a consultant and the founder of the Michigan Minority Health Coalition (MMHC), a statewide advocacy consortium. MMHC has been involved in equity issues since its inception and has members, partners, and associates from all of Michigan’s five ethnic and minority populations The coalition has also hosted numerous educational events in the community, developed a public service announcement and website on the Affordable Care Act, and convened three statewide conferences pertaining to the effect of healthcare reform on communities of color. The coalition was instrumental in the passage of PA 653, Michigan’s Health Disparity Law, and continues to work for full and meaningful implementation. Dr. Pryor received a Bachelor in Business from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina, and a doctorate in Measurement and Quantitative Methods from Michigan State University.

Sheryl Weir, MPH, Manager, Health Disparities Reduction & Minority Health Section, Michigan Department of Community Health
Sheryl Weir is Section Manager for the Michigan Department of Community Health, Health Disparities Reduction and Minority Health Section. HDRMHS’s efforts focus on addressing racial and ethnic health inequities in Michigan. Ms. Weir has over 30 years of public health related experience. Her work includes racial and ethnic minority health, health equity, health disparities and social justice. She has an MPH from the University of Michigan and a BA from Michigan State University.