JOHNSON CITY (March 8, 2021) – East Tennessee State University is hosting an inaugural Health, Equity and Inclusion Lecture featuring Dr. Cara V. James, president and CEO at Grantmakers In Health (GIH), an educational organization dedicated to helping foundations and corporate giving programs improve the health of all people.
The lecture, titled “Understanding Health Disparities and What it Takes to Achieve Health Equity,” will be presented via Zoom on Tuesday, March 23, from 6-7:30 p.m. It is co-sponsored by the ETSU College of Public Health and the Office of Equity and Inclusion and is part of the College of Public Health’s Leading Voices in Public Health lecture series.
“Public health prioritizes the elimination of health disparities and achievement of optimal health for everyone,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of the College of Public Health. “We are excited to welcome the expertise and the passion that Dr. James brings to these important issues, and we are looking forward to the productive conversations that will ensue from her insight.”
Prior to joining GIH, James served as director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), where she provided leadership, vision, and direction to advance the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CMS goals related to reducing disparities and achieving health equity for vulnerable populations, including racial and ethnic populations, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, and persons living in rural communities.
Under her guidance, CMS developed its first CMS Equity Plan to Improve Quality in Medicare and its first Rural Health Strategy, created an ongoing initiative to help individuals understand their coverage and connect to care, increased the collection and reporting of demographic data, and developed numerous resources to help stakeholders in their efforts to reduce disparities.
Before joining CMS, James served as director of the Disparities Policy Project and director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. While there, she was responsible for addressing a broad array of health and access to care issues for people of color and other underserved populations, including the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act, analyses of state-level disparities in health and access to care and disparities in access to care among individuals living in health professional shortage areas. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked at Harvard University and The Picker Institute.
James is a past member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine (NASEM) Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and has served on several NASEM committees. She holds her doctorate in health policy and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Registration is required at http://bit.ly/lvph0321.