ODI Initiatives

Health Equity and Leadership

Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2013, the Health Care Equity and Leadership Initiative provides leadership and training opportunities to underrepresented males, ages 17-25, for improving health outcomes and access to care among racial and ethnic minorities. Underrepresented males enrolled in Mississippi community colleges are the primary focus of this project.

Goals and successes of the program:

To prepare, develop, and train young men of color for successful career opportunities in the health care workforce.

  • Participants receive approximately 60 hours of education and training through workshops and service activities.
  • Participants meet one-on-one with institutional leaders, department chairs, and faculty to learn about admissions, financial aid, and occupational trends.
  • Participants have participated in national conferences such as the Annual Medical Education Conference (Student National Medical Association) and Race Forward (Center for Racial Justice Innovation).

To improve community engagement between communities of color and the state's only academic medical center.

  • Participants have visited healthcare facilities in underserved areas throughout the state such as Taborian Hospital (Mound Bayou, MS), Health Department (Greenwood, MS), Mission First Medical and Dental Clinic (Jackson, MS), and Lanier High School Teen Wellness Clinic (Jackson, MS).

To provide mentoring opportunities for participants by leaders in the health care workforce.

  • Participants frequently shadow health care providers at the Medical Center and clinics.
  • Participants meet national leaders and role models through virtual mentoring and monthly webinars.
  • Faculty,staff, and health professionals receive training and education on the effects of unconscious bias and how practices, processes, and policies may affect behavior.

To improve understanding of health literacy and the roots of health care disparities.

  • Participants receive national resources and publications on health disparities.
  • Participants review and discuss national datasets on health behaviors and health outcomes, and present potential solutions to addressing the disparities.

Publications and resources