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Moffitt Cancer Center, Orlando Health and United Way of Broward County recently completed pilot sessions for a voluntary Health Equity Train-the-Trainer program to improve health equity across the state. All three organizations are partnering with support from a combined $2.5 million health equity grant awarded by the Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan.

The program is designed to educate health care professionals on health equity issues and useful strategies that help ensure families and community members have both the access and opportunity to attain their full health potential and are not disadvantaged due to environmental, economic or social circumstances.

During a live group training this spring, participants from Moffitt and the other organizations received an overview of health equity and reviewed inequity data for Florida. They later completed web-based training covering health disparities, bias and stereotyping, communication strategies, cross-cultural communication, equity in communication and implementing change for health equity. In a later group training, participants debriefed and discussed how to apply what they learned and train co-workers.

“Health disparities remain trenchant in part because the problem seems so large and complex people don’t know where to begin or if they individually can make a difference,” said Cathy Grant, vice president, chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer with Enterprise Equity at Moffitt Cancer Center. “This first-of-its-kind training aims to empower health providers with the knowledge, skill and abilities to not only care for populations from a variety of social identities but also to engage in systems change. Everyone can be part of the shift needed to close the gap of differential health outcomes.” 

The strategy behind the four-year program is to train more than 3,000 Florida health care providers who will share the material with others in their organizations and communities.

Participants have found the training valuable. "I will be able to use the knowledge gained through training to implement equitable health care,” said one. “The biggest take-away is that this is a life-long journey to making continual efforts to improve health equity in our communities," said another.

“Improving health equity across our state is essential to our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health,” said Susan Towler, executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation. “Through this innovative collaboration, we believe these three organizations can make great strides in educating and supporting health care providers across the state.”