By Adriano Boccanelli, Public Health Fellow
On Wednesday, July 10th HELP: MLP Managing Attorney, Laura Handel Schwartz, testified at a joint public hearing hosted by the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and House Democratic Policy Committee to discuss how health care providers and community stakeholders can work together to reduce the health disparities experienced by socially and economically marginalized populations in Pennsylvania. Laura was part of a panel of physicians, nurses, advocates, and public health experts who explained how living in poor neighborhoods, not having access to quality health care, experiencing trauma, and experiencing discrimination at the individual and systemic levels disproportionately impacts the ability of racial and ethnic minorities to live healthy lives. Infant and maternal health was one of the important topics covered during the hearing.
Laura provided testimony highlighting how HELP: MLP’s collaborative work with evidence-based maternal and child health programs, like our partners, Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership and Mabel Morris Family Home Visit Program and The Foundation for Delaware County’s Healthy Start and Nurse-Family Partnership, can make an enormous difference in the lives of mothers and children living in under-served communities. Laura also described the growing evidence base that shows how addressing social and legal needs greatly improves the economic, housing, and health stability of clients. Laura concluded her testimony by providing a number of important policy recommendations that the Caucus will bring back to the Governor’s Office with the hope that resources will be allocated where they are most needed to reduce health disparities in Pennsylvania.
HELP: MLP applauds the Caucus and Committee for holding such an important hearing and we look forward to working together in to the future to address underlying root causes of health disparities. Laura’s full testimony is available here.