More than a decade into the 21st century, Americans still face tremendous variations in health and health care, depending on what they look like, where they come from, what they earn and other factors.
The U-M Medical School and U-M Health System (UMHS) are working to forge health care reform in this critical area of medicine that will improve the health of underserved and disadvantaged populations.
The Health System’s Office of Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) was established in 2012 within the Medical School and the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers to develop mechanisms for diversity and cultural competency among faculty and staff — one of UMHS’ strategic goals — and to advance clinical care and research that targets underserved populations.
Carmen R. Green, M.D., is the inaugural associate vice president and associate dean for health equity and inclusion — a dual appointment that signifies the position’s strategic importance to the Health System.
An outcomes researcher, Green has uncovered inequalities in pain and pain care based on race, ethnicity, gender and other factors across the lifespan. An innovator, her research has transformed the understanding of health inequities and influenced public policy. A national leader, she has worked locally and nationally to develop and enhance the health sciences pipeline for underrepresented minorities and women.
Green uses her clinical, education, research, and public policy experiences to promote health and educational equity and community engagement while enhancing and respecting the diversity of the UMHS workforce and patient base, and create conditions that enhance the care of the underserved at UMHS and beyond using scientific principles.
Her research focuses on pain management outcomes, physician decision-making, and access to care — and has documented disparities due to age, race, gender, and class across the lifespan. She has also found community-based structural barriers to health and pain care, including clear disparities in access to pain medication for blacks, women and low-income individuals with chronic pain.
Her leadership in developing and diversifying the health professional pipeline includes service on faculty and advisory boards for programs designed to achieve a critical mass of minorities and women in biomedical science.
Opportunities for Students
A component of OHEI is the Leaders and Learners Pathway, which includes the Michigan Health Sciences Summer Institute. The Institute consists of three summer academies designed to develop and prepare pre-college, college and recent graduate students for the field of medicine while addressing health disparities: