In 2004 and 2005, CHF invited community members from across the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region to raise their voices and speak out about the conditions that threaten their health and well-being, and, more importantly, to propose creative solutions to address these problems. Our September 2006 report, Speaking Up and Speaking Out for Health: A Community Call to Action to Improve Health and Health Care in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Region briefly summarizes what we heard and more importantly, presents recommendations that are intended to help local governments, healthcare providers, and foundations improve health and health care access and quality for traditionally underserved communities.
Our six recommendations for regional action to improve health and health care are:
- Develop a blueprint for a regional specialty care delivery network for the uninsured.
- Create a personalized, one-stop, regional health information and referral center that will connect consumers to existing resources and services and empower them to demand high-quality,affordable health care.
- Invest in programs that seek to build a more diverse healthcare workforce.
- Launch a regional community health data project, beginning with information on health status and disparities.
- Engage in community-wide health equality dialogues that address racial and ethnic health disparities, particularly the impact of structural racism on the health and well-being of communities of color in the region.
- Designate neighborhood Wellness Opportunity Zones where incentives are provided for innovative connections between and among all public and private policies, programs, and practices affecting health and well-being.