Call for Membership Applications for Southeastern Health Equity Council

Due Date: September 30, 2016 

The Southeastern Health Equity Council (SHEC) is seeking new members to fill one or more vacancies in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina. We are seeking qualified persons from these states, in particular persons who represent the following specific stakeholder groups and/or areas of expertise: 1) state government; 2) insurance plans; 3) non-profit organizations; 4) health professional associations; 5) food policy; 6) cultural competency; 7) oral health; 8) public policy and advocacy, 9) economic development, 10) workforce development, and 11) non-health sectors related to social determinants of health (e.g., fair housing, education). SHEC's priority areas are: access to healthy food, cultural competency (including oral health), and access to health care.

SHEC is a voluntary, not-for-profit association of 40 members, bringing together leaders from diverse backgrounds including healthcare providers, healthcare-focused organizations, academia, public health agencies, economic development, faith-based organizations, grassroots organizations, other non-profit organizations and the business sector to reinforce the need for multi-sector linkages as a key strategy for ending health disparities in America.

SHEC is one of ten regional health equity councils in the U.S. formed in 2011 as part of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA), which is the first national multi-sector community and partnership-driven effort on behalf of health equity and was spearheaded by the federal Office of Minority Health (OMH While affiliated with OMH in terms of aligning strategies and receiving technical assistance, SHEC and the other regional councils are independent entities separate from OMH and the federal government.

Our purpose is to build collaboration and partnerships to achieve health equity in the Southeast region of the U.S. The vision of SHEC is a region free of disparities in health and healthcare, where all people attain the highest level of health. The mission of SHEC is to inform policy, change systems, and increase awareness for health equity.

SHEC Goals for 2016 by Committee:

Awareness Committee (Priority Area: Health Care Access)
Goal #1: Promote awareness of the impact of health disparities in Region IV, related to healthcare access, food access, cultural competency, and oral health.
Goal #2: Increase awareness of the Affordable Care Act.
Goal #3: Raise awareness of the SHEC within the region, locally, and nationally

Cultural Competency (Priority Area: Cultural Competency)
Goal #1: Disseminate a common language and understanding of cultural competency for the SHEC
Goal #2: Increase cultural competency requirement for health professionals
Goal #3: Inform policy regarding cultural competency training among providers serving vulnerable populations.

Cross RHEC Oral Health Equity Workgroup (Cultural Competency Subcommittee)
Goal #1: Promote optimal oral health, access to care, and oral health equity among minorities in the United States
Goal #2: Enhance diversity of the dental workforce by generating interest among underrepresented youth in the dental profession.
Goal 3: Raise awareness by disseminating Oral Health Information

Social Determinants of Health Committee (Priority Area: Access to Healthy Food)
Goal #1: Increase funding for food financing initiatives to eliminate food deserts and improves access to healthy food
Goal #2: Finalize the Regional Food Resource Directory
Goal #3: Update the health equity report card

Governance Committee
Goal #1: Promote internal communication and collaboration within SHEC
Goal #2: Conduct annual review of SHEC charter and standard operating procedures (SOP) to recommend needed revisions
Goal #3: Manage the selection process for SHEC members and officers
Goal #4: Engage Expert Stakeholders, including State Offices of Minority Health (SOMHs), in SHEC activities
Goal #5: Develop a formal process for internships

SHEC Membership:
Membership positions are individual, not linked to specific organizations. Each individual, volunteer member serves for a term of three (3) years, and for no more than two (2) consecutive terms. After reaching the term limits, a member may reapply for membership after a one (1) year hiatus from service. Towards accomplishing the goals and objectives of the SHEC, each member is expected to attend at least 3 out of 4 Council meetings each year (three via conference call and one in-person; currently travel expenses are provided) and to actively participate on at least one of the Council’s committees, which currently include: (1) Awareness; (2) Cultural Competence; (3) Social Determinants of Health; and (4) Governance.

SHEC Member Responsibilities:
The responsibilities of the Council members, collectively, are to:
  • provide leadership and expertise to drive a collaborative health equity agenda; 
  • ensure continuous engagement of all stakeholders to inform the activities and work of the Council; 
  • collaborate on projects of mutual benefit; 
  • document, monitor and assess progress to ensure accountability of the Council’s work; and 
  • foster sustainability of the SHEC and efforts to eliminate health disparities. 
Time Commitment:
  • Attend four quarterly Council meetings per year: three via web/teleconference (2 hours) and one annual in-person meeting in December (two days). Currently OMH covers travel expenses to the annual meeting. 
  • Participate in committee teleconference meeting and activities, approximately 3 hours per month 
  • Promote awareness of SHEC and health equity issues in your professional and community activities whenever possible 
  • Support other Council members’ activities when possible 
How to Apply to Be a SHEC Member:
We are currently accepting applications from qualified individuals interested in becoming a member of SHEC from the eight states of Region IV. Individuals may submit an application online using the following link: http://region4.npa-rhec.org/get-involved/membership.

In addition to providing information about yourself and answering a few questions on the online application form, applicants must upload a current curriculum vita or resume. Applications must be submitted by midnight CST on September 30, 2016.

Selection of New Members:
Applications will be reviewed and considered based on the Council’s needs for filling member positions in the specific states, stakeholder groups, and areas of expertise listed above. We anticipate receiving more applications than the number of open positions. Therefore, if you are not selected for membership this year, we encourage you to reapply next year or in subsequent years as additional positions become open and to become a SHEC Expert Stakeholder (see website for more information).

Selected applicants will be notified by October 15, 2016. New members will be expected to attend an online webinar orientation in November and to attend the annual in-person Council meeting on December 1-2, 2016, when their membership terms will begin.
 
Who to Contact for Questions or Further Information: 

Marino Bruce, PhD
SHEC Governance Committee Co-Chair
marino.bruce@vanderbilt.edu

Cherry Houston, PhD
SHEC Governance Committee Co-Chair
chous26186@aol.com

SHEC Website:
http://region4.npa-rhec.org/