The Healthcare Leadership Council honored Meharry Medical College and the Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health with the Redefining American Healthcare Award through a virtual ceremony on December 9.
Meharry’s mission is to level health inequities and improve the health and health care programs of minority and underserved communities, and the Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health has served to expand its impact on the community. The Center has deployed community-focused and comprehensive research programs to expose and address disparities, which complements the initiatives to empower future generations and invest in minority business owners.
“For more than 140 years, Meharry’s mission has been to serve the underserved, and we continue to empower our students to chart a path to more equitable health care and health outcomes,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, president/CEO of Meharry Medical College. “The pandemic demonstrated to our nation the critical needs of the communities we serve and elevated the work of our College, faculty, and students in addressing these specific issues. We are grateful to be recognized by the HLC for our work that is shaping new ways to deliver care for all populations.”
The founding director for Meharry’s Center for the Study of the Social Determinants of Health, Dr. Bryan Heckman, said: “We are honored to receive this award from the HLC and contribute to a visionary council that understands how social determinants of health can dramatically impact health outcomes. Meharry’s efforts and steadfast commitment to health equity and the Center’s activities have amplified our voice on integral topics, including social determinants of health, addressing barriers to health care and data standardization, among others.”
Healthcare Leadership Council President Mary R. Grealy praised the Center’s vision to design and implement highly effective, culturally appropriate intervention approaches. “Significant data on social determinants of health and corresponding disparities has been amassed, and Meharry has taken the next step of utilizing that data to incorporate long-lasting changes to the delivery of health care,” she said. “Their work should serve as a blueprint for organizations throughout the country striving to achieve similar systemic shifts that will result in healthier communities.”
In a video recorded for the award ceremony, Rep. Jim Cooper congratulated Meharry’s leadership for the honor. “Meharry Medical College has been redefining American health care for 150 years and Dr. James Hildreth is one of the finest leaders Meharry has ever had. The leadership and faculty at Meharry are teaching and mentoring the next generation of doctors, health care professionals and scientists.”
The Healthcare Leadership Council created the Redefining American Healthcare Award to recognize best practices and programs in communities and organizations across the nation that optimize care for vulnerable patients. Award recipients are organizations developing and activating cost-effective, measurable community programs promoting a patient-centered approach to care that considers outside social factors to achieve the best outcomes.