Course Description

What factors contribute to health disparities? How can we achieve more equitable health and access for all populations in the United States? Explore the answers with Kevin Jenkins, based on lessons originally created by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, former president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and guests who have direct experience in influencing policy. Through case studies and policy analyses, examine health equity within the context of population health, identify the social factors that influence the health of individuals and populations, and design strategies for improving health equity.  

Specific course topics include:

  • the underlying factors in health care disparities 
  • the interconnected roles of social determinants of health, including transportation, social environment, and housing 
  • cultivating partnerships for health equity 
  • examples of program and policy interventions 

Course guests:

  • Wendell Pritchett, JD, PhD, civic and academic leader, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Dwayne Proctor, PhD, Senior Adviser to the President at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH, a nationally recognized leader in public health and children’s health care, and Senior Vice President, Program, at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Preview video for  From Health Disparities to Health Equity
LECTURE VIDEO SAMPLE: A preview of the course From Health Disparities to Health Equity, by Riza Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA.

Course Dates: June 1–28, 2021

Estimated Hours/Week: 6 to 8

What You Will Learn and Do

This course is designed to help you address questions such as:

  • How do we assess health disparities? 
  • How do social determinants—such as education, housing, local government, and civic organizations—affect health and policies? 
  • What are the effects of health disparities and social determinants of health on social groups within my professional practice? 
  • What are the main features of a health equity model? 
  • How can we design strategies for improving health equity and promoting health? 

Who Takes This Course

Health care leaders and clinicians who want to play a transformative role in their communities. Forge partnerships to influence policy and improve population health. 

Community leaders and policy makers interested in achieving more equitable health across populations by addressing social factors. Design strategies for potential policy solutions. 

Not ready to enroll? Sign up below to receive a special reminder a week before the course starts.

Meet the Faculty

Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD

Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD, holds a visiting scholar appointment in Annenberg School for Communication, and lecturer appointments within the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences at the School of Nursing and the Master of Science in Social Policy Program within the School of Social Policy and Practice at Penn. He is an investigator for CHERP, the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, and holds appointments as a fellow within the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Health Equity, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable. In 2017, the National Quality Forum named him a 40 Under 40 Leader in Health. He also received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s highly competitive New Connections award for early career scholars.

He is the director of the Interpreting Attitudes toward Minorities in Medicine (I AM) Research Group. AcademyHealth selected him as a member for the Paradigm Project learning community which focuses on design-thinking principles and testing approaches to revolutionize health service research.

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Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, is the president emerita and former CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a position she held for nearly 15 years. She was named the RWJF University Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor of Population Health and Health Equity at the University of Pennsylvania, with appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the Wharton School, effective January 1, 2018.

During her tenure at RWJF, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey spearheaded bold health initiatives such as creating healthier, more equitable communities; strengthening the integration of health systems and services; and ensuring every child in the United States has the opportunity to grow up at a healthy weight. This work culminated in the Foundation’s vision of building a Culture of Health, enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.

She worked as deputy administrator for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research under President George H.W. Bush’s administration and continued to direct policy for the subsequent administration, serving as Quality of Care chair for President Bill Clinton’s panels on health care. She served on numerous federal advisory committees and she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and her MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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