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“Addressing Health Disparities faced by Minority and Ethnic Communities ” : A Conversation with with Robbie Goldstein, MD, PhD, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on the Multicultural Television Network (MCTV)

RANDOLPH, MA – BY YVES CAJUSTE – To celebrate its 11th anniversary, MCTV hosted a Community Forum on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at its studio in Randolph, focusing on the disparities in health access experienced by minority and ethnic populations. Dr. Robbie Goldstein MD, PhD, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was invited to address questions from Brenda Lormil-Raymond, a nurse specializing in oncology.
Healthcare professionals and elected officials from the Greater Brockton area including Moise Rodrigues, current President of the Brockton City Council attended the program, which can be viewed on the MCTV YouTube channel (add link). Dr. Goldstein’s interview will be featured on CAMERA MOSAIQUE, airing on 16 public television stations across Massachusetts this weekend.

The event featured a conversation centered not just around policies and programs, but also, people – their health, their access to care, and their voices. The program underscored the commitment of Commissioner Goldstein and his team to address health disparities and promote equity across the state of Massachusetts.
In the year since Commissioner Goldstein had taken on his role, he has brought with him not just a wealth of experience from his time at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), but also a deeply-rooted passion for advancing health equity. From addressing systemic racism to improving access to healthcare services, Commissioner Goldstein has led initiatives that sought to make tangible differences in the lives of Massachusetts residents.
One such initiative was the Vaccine Equity Initiative (VEI), a program designed to ensure equitable access to vaccinations, particularly among marginalized communities. Building on Massachusetts’ history of success in vaccination efforts, the VEI had been instrumental in reaching communities of color, uninsured individuals, and those facing barriers to healthcare access. Through partnerships with community organizations and targeted outreach efforts, the VEI brought hope in the fight against infectious diseases.

Another highlight of Commissioner Goldstein’s tenure has been the focus on maternal health and the initiative to support the opening of birth centers across Massachusetts. Recognizing the importance of culturally affirming and supportive birthing environments, Commissioner Goldstein’s team has worked diligently to streamline regulations and provide resources for the establishment of birth centers. By empowering individuals to make informed choices about their birthing experiences, these initiatives aimed to address disparities in maternal health outcomes and foster greater trust in the healthcare system.
Throughout the conversation, Commissioner Goldstein emphasized the importance of community engagement, listening, and collaboration. From hosting listening sessions to involving community members in policy discussions, the Department of Public Health under his leadership has prioritized the voices of those most impacted by health inequities. By centering the experiences and needs of diverse communities, Commissioner Goldstein and his team are driving meaningful change from the ground up.

During the forum, certificates of recognition were presented to Haitian-American professionals by Senators Michael Brady (Second Plymouth and Norfolk) and Walter Timilty (Norfolk, Plymouth and Bristol) on behalf of the Massachusetts Senate. These individuals, who were active in the 1990s, made significant contributions to the state-level fight against HIV in Massachusetts.

The recipents are: Dr. Georgette Jeanty and Dr. Nicole Prudent, founding members of HAPHI (Haitian-American Public Health Initiatives); Dr. Eustache Jean-Louis and Dr. Jean Bonnet, founding members of CCHER (Center for Community Health Education and Research); and psychologist Jean Abede Alexandre, who provided his services to HAPHI during that time.

The complete interview of Dr. Robbie Goldstein on MCTV.

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