West Palm Beach Racial & Ethnic Equality Action Summit 2021

Health Policy Recommendations

To reduce racial and ethnic disparities, the Health Subcommittee identified the following priorities of focus: Improving access to and education about healthcare services and wellbeing resources; addressing unequal distribution of information and building trust between marginalized communities and health institutions.

Under these priorities, the Task Force proposes the following policy recommendations:

Last Updated: September 20, 2021

Health Policy Recommendations

Recommendation: Create mobile services and transit services for medical needs to overcome the digital divide in communities and support areas with low accessibility to healthcare

Establish mobile clinics with a consistent presence and accessible locations throughout the city, with the support of local partnerships, as a strategy towards developing permanent, long-term care and community-based resources for communities.

  • Develop the Fire Department Mobile Integrated Health Program through grant opportunities and partnerships with hospitals
  • Develop strategies to address stigmas towards mobile medical services by partnering with churches and trusted community leaders who advocate through community outreach and support the local operation of the mobile units
  • Explore strategies to provide and subsidize transportation services to healthcare institutions and medical locations (e.g., with Palm Tran CONNECTIONS)

Recommendation: Promote and encourage more equity in healthcare institutions and recruitment of more representative minorities in medicine

Invest in culturally inclusive and holistic healthcare options as well as accessible multilingual services at healthcare institutions. Develop strategies for recruiting minority medical and healthcare professionals in the city.

  • Invest in strategies for more affordable education and supportive services for minority students pursuing medical professions
  • Provide healthcare professionals with implicit bias and cultural sensitivity training with a focus on inequalities in healthcare and cross-cultural interactions with patients
  • Incentivize acceptance by hospitals of low-cost insurance programs and offer workshops about healthcare financial assistance and insurance coverage, especially for low-income populations
  • Institute enforcement tools (e.g., inspections or audits) to monitor the provision of equitable healthcare services

Recommendation: Prioritize policies aimed at ensuring equitable access to and increased education about healthy, affordable food options

Provide incentives for building more grocery stores in underserved areas that are within walkable distance. Partner with existing local and franchise grocery stores as well as corner stores, gas stations, restaurants, caterers, and local growers to offer healthier food selections.

  • Promote diverse and innovative options such as “Green Markets” in underserved areas, more fresh food stands and community gardens, and community food lockers or fridges
  • Support educational programs about healthy food (e.g. sessions with nutritionists at local grocery stores, partnership with Trindy Gourmet’s food truck, city-funded community cookouts, and dinners to share healthy-eating resources)

Recommendation: Invest in programs that improve relationships and build trust between health providers and community organizations

Invest in strategies to increase exposure and relationship-building between healthcare providers and historically underserved communities (e.g., community swimming pool, health classes, spaces for physical activity).

  • Establish a network of community partners (e.g., barbershops, community leaders, businesses, and clergy members) for awareness campaigns, distribution of health information and education, and implementation of health-related initiatives
  • Establish culturally sensitive, highly accessible information hubs to connect residents to resources for guidance on obtaining healthcare services and available programs in the city; promote awareness about the hubs

Recommendation: Increase availability and access to mental health resources and services, especially in underserved communities

Implement a public campaign to destigmatize mental health issues and promote reaching out to resources. Support greater access to medical professionals and mental health resources and offer mental health referral services within mobile health.

  • Support education and hiring of more mental health practitioners, especially black and brown mental health professionals and counselors.
  • Provide more mental health resources and professional support in schools and online for young people with mental health needs
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