At Weitzman, we aim to transform the national health policy discussion and drive equitable change in the health care sector. As part of the CHC, Inc. family, we hold a unique bond with our patients, and believe policy is one of the most important tools to increase access to primary care and build healthier communities. We envision this work as part of a multi-sector effort that encompasses the government at the state, local, and federal level, nonprofits, and the private sector.
Women's Health Movement: A Brief History
Sixty years ago, the Women’s Health Movement (WHM) began, leading to significant policy and cultural changes in healthcare, biomedicine, and research. This Women’s History Month, we want to highlight the key milestones of the WHM and discuss how it was key to moving us closer to gender equality in the health and biomedical research fields.
Continuing the Legacy of Granny Midwives
This Black History Month, we are highlighting the midwives of the Deep South who were instrumental in Black maternal health and recognizing their role in today’s current efforts for birth equity.
Addressing Mental Health Impacts in Cancer Patients and Survivors at Federally Qualified Health Centers
Numerous studies have established a connection between cancer populations and the increased likelihood to experience mental health disorders and symptoms. This blog post discusses why primary healthcare settings, including FQHCs, should implement and screen cancer and cancer remission patients to identify those who are experiencing negative mental health impacts from their cancer experience.
Addressing the Health and Social Needs of Refugees and Migrants at a Social Safety Net Clinic in CT
The United States’ departure from Afghanistan in August 2021 resulted in over 76,000 Afghan nationals coming into the country, including to Connecticut. Federally Qualified Health Centers like the Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI) have a longstanding history of working with underserved populations, and thus, are uniquely positioned to address the health and social needs of refugees. This blog post describes CHCI’s implementation of a Saturday health clinic that launched in November 2021 for refugees in New Britain, Connecticut.
Publications & Briefs
Community-Based Doulas And Federally Qualified Health Centers: Addressing Climate Change And Maternal Health
There is growing concern nationally about the threat that climate change poses to maternal health through the increase in global temperatures, extreme weather events, and the emission of greenhouse gases. A collaboration between community-based doulas and Federally Qualified Health Centers can be a novel approach to mitigating the impacts of climate change on pregnant people in underserved communities.
Addressing Food Insecurity in School-Based Settings: Keeping Youth Fed as Costs Rise
With the rising costs of food and families having less money to spend, schools, now more than ever, are playing an important role in keeping youth fed who may be facing food insecurity. The Weitzman Institute’s new piece, “Addressing Food Insecurity in School-Based Settings: Keeping Youth Fed as Costs Rise” provides an overview of the important services and resources schools provide to students who face hunger, including on-site food pantries, school meal programs, and school-based health centers. It also discusses recent federal action to address this issue and what steps should be taken to ensure students can continue to access food while at school.
How Federally Qualified Health Centers Can, And Should, Promote Environmental Justice
Federally Qualified Health Centers are uniquely positioned to address environmental justice as part of their mission to promote the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of society. There are several ways in which they can have a direct impact on the patients and communities they serve by supporting environmental justice efforts.
Wearable Fitness Tracker Use in Federally Qualified Health Center Patients: Strategies to Improve the Health of All of Us Using Digital Devices
As the use of connected devices rises, an understanding of how digital health technologies can be used for equitable healthcare across diverse communities is needed. The six Federally Qualified Health Centers involved in the NIH All of Us Research Program, including Community Health Center, Inc./Weitzman Institute, surveyed more than 1,000 adult patients regarding wearable fitness trackers. Findings indicate the majority expressed interest in having fitness trackers. Barriers included cost and lack of information, revealing that broad digital health device adoption requires education, investment, and high-touch methods.
The Rise of ACEs during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). They are a major public health concern with high potential to worsen as a result of the health, social, and economic repercussions of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
This policy brief looks at how the health, social, and economic impact of COVID-19 may result in an increases in ACEs, especially in our most vulnerable populations, and discusses the public health responses needed to effectively address ACEs in our communities.
Understanding Barriers to Oral Care for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) Taskforce
The Weitzman Institute is interested in addressing and understanding current barriers faced by people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in receiving oral care. PLWHA experience more oral health problems and complications compared to their non-infected counterparts.
To do this, we are creating a representative Taskforce comprised of people living with HIV/AIDS and patient advocates that work closely with PLWHA or are familiar with HIV/AIDS advocacy and community work. We want to hear from the patients and those working closely with them about some of the issues faced in receiving dental care and how we can improve access to routine oral care. Discussions from the Taskforce will help inform a three-part policy brief series. We will also host a webinar to launch the policy brief series.
Addressing the Health and Health-Related Social Needs of Homeless Youth
Exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, homelessness is a major public health challenge facing 4.2 million youth across the U.S. that disproportionately impacts LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color. Examining and solving for the links between social determinants of health, such as housing insecurity, and health outcomes is a core component of the work we do at Weitzman. Thanks to the generous support of the Aetna Foundation, “Addressing the Health and Health-Related Social Needs of Homeless Youth” is Weitzman’s newest community-based participatory research project in New Britain, CT. This is a unique opportunity for young people who have experienced housing insecurity to examine the web of factors contributing to homelessness through the art forms of photography and storytelling, with a primary focus on youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth experiencing housing insecurity. Using a technique known as photovoice, participants were trained in photography and provided cameras to capture visual representations of their everyday lives. Their pictures and stories bring their concerns to life, and urge community leaders and policymakers to take action.
We work strategically with over 25 local partner organizations and government agencies to identify the health-related challenges causing youth homelessness and put together materials (e.g. podcasts, policy briefs, etc.) that increase policymakers’, practitioners’, and researchers’ knowledge of best practices to improve health outcomes among this population.
Brandon Azevedo, MPH, Senior Health Policy Analyst
Tonantzin Juarez, MS, Senior Health Policy Analyst
Angela Taylor, MPH, Health Policy Fellow