Shawn T. Wooden, Hartford City Council president; Dr. Marcus M. McKinney, vice president of Community Health Equity and Health Policy at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center; Curtis D. Robinson, founder and chairman of the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute (CDRMHI); St. Francis president and CEO Christopher M. Dadlez; and Adrienne W. Cochrane, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Hartford take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 14 to unveil the 5,400-square-foot space for St. Francis Center for Health Equity (CHE) and CDRMHI at Urban League headquarters at 140 Woodland Street, Hartford.
The Urban League and CDRMHI announced a partnership with CHE to address disparities in health care. A $200,000 grant to CHE from the Connecticut Health Foundation will support a health equity fellowship position there.
The goal of the fellowship position is to mentor and develop the skills of a health equity leader and expert in the area of health disparities, and to provide an in-depth understanding of the factors that impact the health of African-American men in Hartford, who face socioeconomic challenges resulting in poor health outcomes that are often four or five times worse than the general population.
Mr. Robinson, a businessman and a prostate cancer survivor, started CDRMHI three years ago to reach out to men who are at risk of prostate cancer and who otherwise would find it difficult to receive testing and treatment.
"We normally go out to churches, mosques, synagogues, barbershops, wherever men gather," Mr. Robinson said. "We’re still going to do that, but now we have a home," he added.
Mr. Dadlez said, "Equity in health care is a major issue nationally and in our community, and because of our initiative here, we’re going to take monumental steps forward to addressing the special needs of our community."
He added, "We hope we can eliminate disparities in health care."
Deacon Arthur Miller, director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries of the Archdiocese of Hartford, blessed the new facilities, noting that it was the eve of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 150th anniversary month of the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite civil rights strides, black people still face disparities, including health care disparities, he said. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)