The University of Kansas Medical Center has announced the launch of the Center for African American Health, which will focus on improving the health outcomes of Black, African American, and other marginalized people and populations through service, education, research, and policy. The center will be a community-led effort spearheaded by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the medical center. The center will work to build coalitions and trust within the community and identify, address, and eliminate structural barriers, such as policies and environmental conditions.
The center’s work will be guided by four pillars, according to the university:
- Service through community engagement, advocacy, primary care, referrals, clinical care management, and coordination.
- Education through mentorship, building the workforce pipeline, and supporting curricular changes.
- Research through improving community-driven practices to conduct innovative, diverse, equitable, and inclusive research that uplifts and improves health outcomes for Black and African American communities.
- Policy through the translation of research into advocacy.
The group that worked to establish the center 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, an associate professor of nursing and vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Kansas Medical Center, said that “the response was support for creating a one-stop approach that would include collaboration, relationship-building and co-creation with community partners.”
Dr. McGee is a graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, where she majored in biology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a master’s degree in organizational leadership, and a doctor of nursing practice degree, all from the University of Kansas Medical Center.