Mar 31, 2023

KU Medical Center launches the Center for African American Health to focus on improving health outcomes of marginalized populations

The Center for African American Health will partner with the community to enhance and improve the health and wellness of Black individuals and African Americans living in Kansas and beyond.

The University of Kansas Medical Center today announced the launch of the Center for African American Health, which will focus on improving the health outcomes of Black, African American and other marginalized people and populations through service, education, research and policy.

The center will be a community-led effort spearheaded by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at KU Medical Center. The center will work to build coalitions and trust within the community and identify, address and eliminate structural barriers, such as policies and environmental conditions.

The idea for the Center for African American Health emerged from discussions led by the DEI team with a group of like-minded community partners and health leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those conversations included discussions of racism as a public health issue and the interpersonal and structural impacts on Black and African American Kansans.

"This group posed the question, ‘how can we leverage our resources, advocacy and relationships to improve the lives of Black and African American people in Kansas?’" said Jerrihlyn McGee, DNP, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at KU Medical Center. "The response was support for creating a Center for African American Health — essentially a one-stop approach that would include collaboration, relationship-building and co-creation with community partners."

McGee noted that the work of the center will be done in both Wyandotte and Sedgwick counties. "The intent is to serve both," she said.

The center's work will be guided by four pillars:

"We are entering phase 1 of our launch now," said Danielle Binion, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for KU Medical Center. "This includes recruiting and hiring center leadership, completing marketing efforts and continuing to build coalitions in the community."

Additional information about the Center on African American Health will be available at KU Medical Center's Juneteenth Jazz Festival and Celebration of the Center for African American Health, which will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on June 16, outside the Health Education Building on the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City.