University of Kansas Establishes Center for African American Health

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The University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) has launched the Center for African American Health, a new initiative that will focus on improving the health outcomes of Black, African American, and other marginalized communities.

Led by the KUMC Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the center’s mission is to foster community coalitions, cultivate trust, and proactively identify and dismantle structural barriers to accessing health care.

The initiative will focus on providing service to Black and African American communities through engagement, primary care, referrals, and clinical care management and coordination. In addition, the center will offer mentorship, workforce pipeline development, and support for curricular changes while also conducting research and advocating for policies that improve health outcomes.

The center was conceived during discussions led by the DEI team with community partners and health leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release. These discussions focused on the intersection of racism as a public health concern and its effects on Black and African American individuals in Kansas.

“This group posed the question, ‘how can we leverage our resources, advocacy and relationships to improve the lives of Black and African American people in Kansas?’” Jerrihlyn McGee, vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion at KUMC, said in the release. “The response was support for creating a Center for African American Health — essentially a one-stop approach that would include collaboration, relationship-building and co-creation with community partners.”