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Topics > Reducing Health Disparities Initiative > What We Are Doing > New Advisory Group to Help Refine RHDI Direction

New Advisory Group to Help Refine RHDI Direction

From left, Jósé Martín, Dr. William Walker and Dawna Vann comprise our RHDI Leadership Team.
By José Martín, RHDI Leader

The New Year heralds an exciting time for our continued efforts to reduce health care inequities in our county with the Reducing Health Disparities Initiative (RHDI). After interviewing staff and holding focus groups involving RHDI Division Work Groups and Division heads, we're getting ready to launch a strategic update of RHDI.

How it started

We began implementation of RHDI in April 2003 after the Institute of Medicine issued Unequal Treatment, a report about the impact of race on health outcomes. The report said that even in settings where providers and programs are clearly dedicated to providing the best care for everyone, race seems to predict who will have less access and poorer outcomes.

What's next

As part of our strategic update, we've taken a long, hard look at what we've accomplished so far and what still needs to be done. We're forming a Strategic Advisory Group to help the RHDI Leadership Team (Dr. Walker, myself, Dawna Vann and consultant Laurin Mayeno) think through the major issues that need to be addressed in updating the RHDI.

Dr. Walker selected 16 representatives from different divisions to form the Advisory Group and the membership should be finalized this month. The group is scheduled to meet three times between now and February to go over all the input from the focus groups and interviews. The advisory group and the leadership team will use this information to refine the direction for the RHDI, and we hope to have a draft plan for this finished by the end of February. In consultation and collaboration with senior leaders, Dr. Walker will approve the final plan.

This new plan will include what is working well, what needs to be strengthened, what needs to be changed and what needs to be added. We'll have refined/additional objectives and clarify leadership, staffing, structure and evaluation processes, as well as an operational vision, guiding principles, and common language.

Always looking forward

We envision the updated RHDI plan to be a living and working document that will continually be refined and revised as the different divisions, work groups and committees apply it in practice.

Our current objectives are necessary, but not sufficient to achieve our vision of reducing health disparities. We are asking the Strategic Advisory Group to help us move further toward our vision in a way that works best for the organization and helps us make a meaningful impact on health disparities.

José Martín, RHDI Leader, can be reached at or 925-957-5426.

Many CCHS employees have worked very hard since then to address the three key areas of our initiative: linguistic access, education and training to foster organizational growth and change, and further developing an organizational climate that values patient, client, customer and employee diversity and addresses health disparities.

Looking at disease-specific focus possibilities for RHDI

As part of our strategic update of RHDI, we're looking at some new ideas to help give the RHDI more focus, such as having a department-wide focus on one particular health disparity. We are asking the Strategic Advisory Group to help us assess the potential for a disease-specific focus on diabetes. Diabetes is chosen for discussion because it impacts many communities, has risk factors that affect many disparities, and offers opportunities for crossdivision collaboration. - José Martín

How to Get Involved

CCHS staff who want to get more involved in the RHDI can contact their RHDI Division Work Group Chair or representative. Not all divisions have RHDI work groups. The following is a list of division chairs or representatives. (If you don't see your division listed, contact: José Martín, RHDI Leader, at or 925-957-5426.)

CCHP, Otilia Tiutin, 313-6063 (5-6063)

Public Health, co-chairs: Debbie Card,
313-6117 (5-6117) and Joanne Genet,
313-6763 (5-6763)

AODS, Curtis Christy, 313-6382 (5-6382)

Mental Health, temporary chair: Sherry
Bradley, 957-5114 (7-5114)

CCRMC/HCs, Marcelle Indelicato, 370-5108 (5-5108)

EH, Vanessa Cordier, 646-5225 (5-5225)

Content provided by the Reducing Health Disparities Initiative.

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