Maryland’s 15th Annual Health Equity Conference Addresses Cost Saving Initiatives to Improve Health Equity

Press Release, Maryland Department of Health

Baltimore, MD (December 6, 2018) – The 15th Annual Maryland Health Equity Conference, hosted today in Baltimore by the Maryland Department of Health Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (MHHD), addressed prevention and cost saving strategies to reduce health disparities and improve health equity in Maryland. This year’s theme was “Achieving Health Equity and Disparity Reduction: Prevention and Cost Savings Initiatives.” Attendees participated in discussions that focused on initiatives to address disparities and improve health outcomes in minority communities, resulting in reduced health costs and preventable hospital utilization.

“Health care cost reduction is incredibly important, in large part because minority populations have the greatest difficulties accessing health services,” said Dr. Noel Brathwaite, director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. “Today’s conference brings together interested parties in order to work collaboratively to address these unique needs and improve health outcomes in minority communities.”

Every year, the statewide conference brings together county health departments; state and local government; state-funded organizations such as the Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance grantees; elected officials; health service and clinical providers; local coalitions; faith- and community-based organizations and partners; academicians; and students to collaborate on ways to advance health equity for all Marylanders.

Approximately 400 people attended the conference, hearing fromspeakers including Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert R. Neall; MHHD Director Dr. Noel Brathwaite; State Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam; and Director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health Dr. Stephen Thomas.

“As state Senator and registered nurse, I am aware of the challenges that minority communities face in accessing preventable and disease management services,” said Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam. “We all must be committed to improving primary care services that are equitable and recognize the social determinant of health needs faced by Maryland communities. I am honored to be present for the presentation of the 8th annual Shirley Nathan-Pulliam Health Equity award and lecture series recognizing Dr. Georges Benjamin.”

Executive Director of the American Public Health Association Dr. Georges C. Benjamin was the 2018 recipient of the Shirley Nathan-Pulliam Health Equity Award and delivered the keynote lecture. Conference presentations focused on the Mobile Integrated Community Health Program; Managed Care Organization initiatives in preventable utilization and social determinants; improving health outcomes in infant mortality, pre-diabetes/diabetes, and asthma; and Maryland’s return on investment success stories.

The conference was held at Martin’s West in Baltimore and sponsored by the MHHD. The conference was co-sponsored by the Behavioral Health Administration’s Office of Workforce Development and Training, and the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Maryland Center for Health Equity.

For more information on the department’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, please visit

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