Advancing Health Equity

Advancing Health Equity 2021-07-22T16:35:45-04:00

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a harsh spotlight on the disparities in access and outcomes that exist in our healthcare system for patients from historically underserved communities. The pandemic has been devastating for all communities, but it has hit communities of color especially hard. Black patients have been three times as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and two times as likely to die in comparison to their white counterparts. Health disparities of this magnitude are not new. Researchers have long been aware of health disparities affecting underserved communities for many noncommunicable diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. But the pandemic has brought these problems into mainstream consciousness.

When MHQP’s Board of Directors met in June 2020 to discuss the organization’s strategic direction, the Board overwhelmingly endorsed making the advancement of health equity one of MHQP’s strategic imperatives. Soon thereafter, we formed a Health Equity, Anti-Racism Workgroup to identify directions for MHQP to systematically move towards health equity and justice, and to eradicate inequities in health outcomes and experiences. The Workgroup has recommended two priority areas for MHQP:

  1. Improve our understanding of how best to capture Race, Ethnicity, Language and Disability (RELD) data, with a particular focus on understanding patients experiences with being asked about RELD to better understand barriers to data collection; and
  2. Improve our understanding of how we can advance equity and access of telehealth

MHQP is uniquely positioned to help advance the issue of health equity. As a neutral coalition of stakeholder groups, MHQP can bring providers, health plans and patients together to solve challenging problems such as this that none can solve alone. While we understand that this issue is deeply-rooted in longstanding biases and seemingly intractable social patterns, we are determined to do what we can to make level our playing field.

Here is a list of the posts on this site related to MHQP’s health equity activities:

The Pain Inequities Project


This important initiative is investigating the disparities that Black women experience when they seek diagnosis and management of chronic pain, and based on these findings, will begin to identify strategies to address these important issues. In the first phase of our work, MHQP conducted open-ended interviews with adult patients who have experienced chronic (> 6 months) pain and

Supporting UMass Memorial’s Efforts to Reduce Race/Ethnicity Disparities in Child Well-Visits


MHQP was contracted by UMass Memorial Healthcare to conduct interviews with patients and their families in both English and Spanish to better understand barriers and race/ethnicity disparities associated with child well-visits in its network. The findings from these interviews, summarized in MHQP’s report, will be used to inform performance improvement initiatives as part of a network-wide quality improvement

Advancing Understanding of Telehealth Inequities Through HPHCI’s WIFI Study
(2021 - 2022)


As part of a study conducted in partnership with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute (HPHCI), MHQP interviewed patients, providers and community leaders to better understand potential socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic inequities in telehealth usage in Massachusetts since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interviews explored topics such as insurance coverage of telehealth, access to telehealth, and

MHQP Launches The Pain Inequities Project, Seeks New Funding

(March 2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the devastating inequities embedded in America’s healthcare system and highlighted the need to address the biases underlying deeply rooted and systemic health disparities in our country.

One area where these biases are quite apparent is pain management. Research has shown that Black Americans are systematically undertreated

Health Equity Lens Brings New Focus to MHQP’s Clinical Guidelines

(January 2021)

Two decades ago, in 2001, MHQP issued the first statewide Adult and Pediatric Preventive Care Recommendations and Immunization Guidelines in Massachusetts. At that time, providers were receiving a different set of clinical guidelines from each of the health plans they worked with. Recognizing this situation as both confusing and wasteful,

Listen Up, America. Now is the Time to Address Racism in our Healthcare System

by Brittney Gedeon, Rising Junior and Presidential Scholar at Boston College and MHQP Summer Intern

(June 8, 2020)

The senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis has shocked and outraged millions of people throughout the country. As a nation, we should condemn the racial injustices we see in policing and

MHQP Statement in Support of Protests

(June 8, 2020) 

Dear Friends,

We at MHQP would like to add our voices to the resounding chorus of supportive messages in solidarity with the peaceful protesters seeking lasting change against longstanding systemic racism in the United States. We hear you. We see you. We support you.

Now is a time to listen to the voices of our fellow Americans whose cries

Now Is the Time to Get Telehealth Right

By Barbra G. Rabson

(April 2020) 

Amid all the horror and hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic, maybe something good will emerge on the other side of it for the healthcare system. Now is our chance to finally get telehealth right.

Before the pandemic struck, MHQP was working with a distinguished panel of experts to