Championing Women, Children and Families
Women’s Health – LCHE champions women’s health by addressing disparities through policy advocacy and community engagement. For nine years, LCHE and partners have hosted the Annual Women’s Day Celebration – a legislative policy advocacy, information and resources event held at the Louisiana State Capitol. Topics have included child and maternal health, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDs, human trafficking, sexual and other forms of abuse, access to healthcare and more. Due to COVID-19, LCHE 2020 events were hosted via webinar. The events, which were titled More Power: Women at the Polls and in Policy and Maternal Health – Racial Concordance HerStory and Policy featured several prominent local and state officials, community leaders and subject matter experts.
Currently, LCHE’s most prominent women’s health initiative is its Campaign to Establish the Louisiana Office of Women’s Health – an effort designed to concentrate resources and policy efforts toward improving health outcomes and eliminating disparities unique to women, especially pertaining to maternal health.
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Improving Healthcare Access & Health Outcomes
As the only state in the Deep South to adopt Medicaid Expansion, Louisiana has made great strides to improve healthcare access for its residents. Still, despite over 500,000 individuals obtaining health insurance coverage under Medicaid expansion, our state’s health ranking remains 49th in the country. This figure represents a clear disconnect between insurance coverage and true access to quality, equitable medical treatment and preventative care.
Just as LCHE led the Campaign for Healthcare for Everyone- Louisiana to make Medicaid Expansion a reality, we continue to fight to ensure that health equity exists for all regardless of economic status. This means access to fair wages, quality schools, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods.
During the 2020 Health Summit, LCHE announced its #LA40by2030 bold vision along with policy recommendations to aid Louisiana in boosting its health ranking to 40th by 2030. To this end, LCHE continues its advocacy efforts to advance policies aimed at increasing behavioral health support for Louisiana’s youth through evidence-based services and legislative action and advancing women’s health through the establishment of the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health.
Leading a Public Health Approach to Adolescent Health
LCHE advocates for policies and systemic changes relevant to adolescent health with a primary focus on education, behavioral health, violence prevention and improving overall health outcomes. Through the Together We Are More Adolescent Health Collaborative, LCHE employs data-driven approaches to address these needs in a comprehensive and sustainable manner. As an outgrowth of these efforts, LCHE launched the Youth Peace Olympics program, the LYFE Line Summit and other youth interventions which have positively impacted hundreds of youth. LCHE’s founder Alma C. Stewart has also worked alongside other prominent health leaders through the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s National Children’s Health Leadership Network, a leadership development program that empowers state leaders to design and promote policies to reduce economic and racial disparities affecting children and youth.
LCHE is currently championing policy efforts to address the role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on suspension and expulsion practices within Louisiana’s schools, an issue that has grown increasingly critical in the wake of COVID-19.
In collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Health – Office of Public Health, LCHE and LSU Health Sciences Center – School of Medicine have partnered with the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative to launch Bringing Respiratory Health Equity for Asthmatics Through Healthier Environments program (BREATHE). Through this initiative, we have expanded this partnership and developed a plan to decrease the number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to asthma complications in Baton Rouge. The proposed services will provide home-based care, health education, and environmental remediation so children living with asthma can achieve better health and quality of life outcomes with lower health care costs.
Advancing Racial and Social Justice
At LCHE we understand that social and political determinants of health are the drivers that influence community health outcomes. Accordingly, the solutions that we employ as a society must be holistic in nature to make a sustainable impact. By addressing issues such as lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare, economic insecurity and other inequities, we work to inform, advise, and implement strategic solutions aimed at solving these systemic problems.
Whether facilitating a strategic planning session, engaging in advocacy actions on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol or convening community coalitions, the eradication of systemic injustice is at the forefront of everything we do. We acknowledge that long standing economic and racial systemic barriers exist and must be dismantled to achieve equity.
LCHE Calls for Boycott of Ochsner Health
The allegations of disparate treatment of Black patients with COVID-19 by Ochsner Health, as outlined in ProPublica’s ‘Sent Home to Die’ article, warrant a bold and direct community response. As such, the Louisiana Center for Health Equity has called for a boycott of Ochsner Health, which was announced during a January 13th press conference and subsequent press release.
LCHE is aware that many community members seek primary care and specialty care with Ochsner Health. We by no means are asking the community or anyone to jeopardize their health in any way, but where there is an opportunity for choice to consider seeing other healthcare providers. The Louisiana Center for Health Equity is asking the community to boycott Ochsner Health until a full and complete investigation is completed which includes interviews with loved ones of patients who died of COVID-19.