Structure of the Great Lakes Regional Health Equity Council

The Great Lakes Regional Health Equity Council (Great Lakes RHEC) aims to increase health equity and end health disparities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The Great Lakes RHEC has identified three priority areas and three cross-cutting activities for their region. The cross-cutting activities as identified by each state follow:

Indiana - Developing strategies using the SDoH as they relate to maternal health and mental health and ongoing active support of the state’s CHW Association

Minnesota - Developing strategies using the SDoH as they relate to infant mortality and CLAS Standards.

Illinois - Developing strategies to leverage ACA-related work of the Illinois CHW Advisory Board and focus on the SDoH to eliminate health disparities as they relate infant mortality.

Michigan - Developing strategies supporting the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance (MiCHWA) while aligning those strategies to the SDoH

Ohio - Working collaboratively with the Ohio Office of Minority Health in the development of standards for CHWs and finding success stories in order to create awareness. Identify opportunities for RHEC member to support state programs to reduce health disparities in infant mortality.

Wisconsin - Continue to work collaboratively with their established network to support CHWs by focusing on funding, empowerment training, and working with other professions.

The Great Lakes RHEC maintains a diverse membership representing several sectors such as academia, healthcare providers, payers, independent consultants, non-profit advocacy groups, and state government. The Great Lakes RHEC’s diversity ensures adequate input from a wide variety of sectors in the council’s efforts to understand and address health disparities in the region. The council has current voting members.


The Council’s activities are coordinated by two co-chairs, and directed by six committees, each led by a co-chair. Committees include: Awareness, Finance, Governance, Policy, Strategic Planning, and Youth Internship.

Ongoing Activities and Accomplishments:
  • Implementing ACA Outreach Demonstration Projects in Michigan and Ohio. 
  • Developing the Great Lakes Facebook page to track Health Reform initiatives taking place in Great Lakes region. 
  • Hosting a webinar series on the impact of the Heckler Report. The first webinar, 30 Years and Counting: The Impact off the Heckler Report in Minority Communities, was held in April 2015. 
  • In Annual Meeting Review and Assessment meetings, including site visits of local businesses and agencies that address SDoH. 
Materials, media releases and/or social media accounts:
  • The Great Lakes RHEC has established a Facebook page. To stay abreast on all upcoming events and stay connected, like our page at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesRHEC
  • NPA Blog Posts by RHEC members, including: 
  • Reducing Health Disparities in Michigan: Paving the Way Through a Roadmap for Health Equity, Part 1 and Part 2, by Sheryl Weir, Section Manager, Michigan Department of Community Health, Health Disparities Reduction and Minority Health Section 
  • eHealth Equity: What Can Texts Do About It? Part 1 and Part 2, by Silas Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for eHealth Equity, and Advisory Board Chair of eHealthEquity.com