Advancing Health Equity: The Impact of the Health Equity Innovation Act of 2023

Advancing Health Equity: The Impact of the Health Equity Innovation Act of 2023

By Reverend Kimberly L. Williams, Executive Director, & Debra Fraser-Howze, Founder and Board Chair
Choose Healthy Life

As a new member of the Health Equity Collaborative, we at Choose Healthy Life (CHL) are thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce ourselves and share our commitment to advancing health equity. Our mission is to address health disparities by ensuring equal access to and delivery of quality healthcare for the Black community through the Black church.

Partnering with the Black church – the oldest and most trusted institution in the community – Choose Healthy Life delivers health services and community wellness programs. Our proven, sustainable, and scalable model that brings together faith and science is based on the establishment of a trained faith-based health navigator in each CHL church.

CHL initially established a network of fifty (50) Black churches in five major cities and grew to 120 churches across 13 states and the District of Columbia. In its first two years, CHL reached approximately 24 million individuals, and hosted over 4,000 events at which over 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines and tests were administered or distributed. In November 2022, CHL launched the Choose Healthy Life Community Wellness Program through sixty (60) of its churches, featuring the Blueprint for Wellness (BFW), a free comprehensive health screening from a safe blood draw. Each program participant is engaged with a healthcare professional to assess their individual risks. In the first year, churches hosted nearly 200 events and over 10,000 individuals completed the BFW.

One of the issues we are passionate about and have been actively leading and advocating for is the Health Equity Innovation Act of 2023. We have been deeply involved in the introduction of this legislation which aims to address the persistent health disparities that disproportionately affect marginalized communities.

Here are some key points about the Health Equity Innovation Act of 2023:

      1. It provides funding for community and faith-based organizations that deploy innovative approaches to addressing health disparities, recognizing that the same old tactics won’t solve new or persisting problems.
      2. It acknowledges the role of social determinants in health outcomes, such as poverty, housing, and food insecurity, and seeks to address these root causes.
      3. It promotes diversity in clinical trials, ensuring that underrepresented populations are included, and their unique health needs are considered.

The passing of the Health Equity Innovation Act of 2023 is a significant step forward in the fight for health equity. However, there is still much work to be done. We must continue to push for transparency and accountability in healthcare, address the barriers that prevent equitable access to quality medical care, and advocate for policies that lower costs and improve access.

Joining the Health Equity Collaborative (HEC) is a pivotal step in our journey. As part of this esteemed group, we look forward to sharing our experiences, learning from others, and working together to bring about meaningful change.

Passing of the Health Equity Innovation Act of 2023 would be a monumental achievement, but it’s just the beginning. Choose Healthy Life is committed to pushing for further progress and ensuring that health equity is not just an aspiration, but a reality.

If your organization would like to learn more about the Health Equity Innovation Act, H.R. 5520, please see the bill text and more information for H.R. 5520 here. You can also see Congresswoman Williams’ (GA-05) press release here.

We are excited to be part of HEC and look forward to contributing towards a healthier, more equitable future for all.