Reports & Resources

Stakeholders’ Strategies to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities

 Awareness to Action (1.5 MiB)

SHIRE’s March 2007 publication, From Awareness to Action/Stakeholders’ Strategies to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities, presents the results of a multi-year study conducted with the support of The Commonwealth Fund. The report describes steps taken by national and community stakeholders, as reported in individual consultations, to act on awareness of the existence of health gaps between minorities and the total population. Stakeholders have taken action to address racial/ethnic health disparities in a variety of ways, including use of institutional leverage; policy advocacy; research and programs; partnership/coalition-building; information dissemination; and community engagement and empowerment. SHIRE also examined external and internal factors that contributed to organizational decisions and assessed the value of frequent workshops and conferences focused on health disparities. Recommendations include the need to make the “business case” for eliminating health disparities; to continue and accelerate efforts to collect racial, ethnic, and primary language data by both public and private entities; and to consider new strategies to bring about universal health care as a prerequisite for the attainment of health parity and equity.

Perspectives on the HIT/Health Disparities Connection

HIT Congressional Briefing – SHIRE Perspectives March 2007 (153.3 KiB)

SHIRE produced this report for distribution at its March 22, 2007 briefing on “HIT and Health Disparities: Connecting the Dots,” which was co-sponsored by the Health Information Management Systems Society and Blank Rome, in collaboration with the offices of Congressman Edolphus Towns and Congresswoman Donna Christensen. In the document, SHIRE describes compelling reasons for the inclusion of communities of color in health information technology (HIT) public and private initiatives. Also presented are potential benefits of and barriers to minority participation in HIT as well as examples of potential negative impacts of HIT in communities of color if inclusion is not achieved. SHIRE concludes its analysis with proposed HIT principles and selected policy recommendations.

Building Coalitions Among Communities of Color A Multicultural Approach

 Building Coalitions among Communities of Color (5.2 MiB)

This document has been published as a guide to develop coalitions that draw on the strengths and assets of communities of color. Although focused on the elimination of health disparities and the achievement of expanded access, the guidance presented is transferable to other issues as well. Coalition-building strategies, steps, and tools in the guide emerged from consultations with more than 100 representatives of regional and state Office of Minority Health contacts and members of Out of Many, One, a national multicultural advocacy organization. If this collective guidance is followed, the result can be partnerships that are strong, effective change agents over time. Such coalitions, constructed with care and commitment, will illustrate the Korean proverb: “One chopstick breaks easily. Many chopsticks cannot be broken.”

National Policy Agenda

 Multicultural Leadership Forum National Policy (78.2 KiB)

This document is the product of a Multicultural Leadership Forum that engaged national stakeholders and was convened by The Commonwealth Fund and SHIRE. The forum’s charge was to create a framework for the development and assessment of health disparity initiatives, particularly at the national level. The resulting document contains an inspiring vision, key policy premises and principles that reflect those premises, as well as relevant national policies and action strategies. The National Policy Agenda is recommended as a tool for policy formulation, program development, research, and advocacy.

Giving Voices to the Voiceless

Language Barriers & Health Access Issues of Black Immigrants of African Descent

 Giving Voice to the Voiceless (617.9 KiB)

The report, prepared by SHIRE and published by The California Endowment, identifies the systems, language, and cultural barriers that impede health care access among immigrants and refugees of African descent in California and nationally. Although a preliminary assessment, the report provides valuable quantitative and qualitative information about this population, which is so frequently invisible when discussions of immigrant issues occur. Findings and recommendations point to solutions that can be implemented by public and private entities and by organizations that are led by and serve expanding communities of these immigrants, refugees, and asylees.

Racial, Ethnic, and Primary Language Data Collection in the Health Care System:

An Assessment of Federal Policies and Practices

Racial, Ethnic, and Primary Language Data Collection in the Health Care System: An Assessment of Federal Policies and Practices (110.4 KiB)

SHIRE’s executive director, Ruth Perot, was the principal author of this report, which found wide gaps between the goals of federal initiatives to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care and the ways federal health agencies are collecting the data needed to achieve these goals. This comprehensive analysis, published by The Commonwealth Fund in September 2001, was cited extensively in the Institute of Medicine’s landmark publication, Unequal Treatment. Copies can be ordered from The Commonwealth Fund at or by calling 1-888-777-2744.

Conference Highlights/Building Community Engagement in Underserved Neighborhoods/The Path to Health Empowerment

A Conference Held on November 18, 2011 Kellogg Conference Hotel Gallaudet University Washington, D.C

Building Community Engagement in Underserved Neighborhoods The Path to Health Empowerment
(3.8 KiB)

Since its establishment in 1997, Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (SHIRE) has advocated for the elimination of disparities and the attainment of optimum health care for the underserved and at-risk populations – particularly communities of color. SHIRE’s efforts have demonstrated the importance of community engagement in advancing policies and programs beneficial to communities that exhibit the greatest need. Drawing on this experience, SHIRE planned and implemented a national conference in November 2011, Building Community Engagement in Underserved Neighborhoods/The Path to Health Empowerment.

Overview/Community Engagement Initiatives in the District of Columbia

SHIRE is in its 20th year as a District of Columbia 501(c) (3) corporation committed to the empowerment of D.C. residents, particularly in underserved areas of the city, and provision of education and outreach services. Eliminating health disparities and helping people of color and other underserved attain optimal health is our core mission. Although we function at national, regional and state levels –promoting policies that benefit communities of color in local jurisdictions, our primary

focus in the District is to promote health and wellness and address critical issues that contribute to disproportionate mortality and morbidity rates in this city – childhood obesity and the chronic diseases associated with obesity and overweight among children and adults. Many of SHIRE’s program efforts have focused on Wards 7 and 8 where these health challenges are most acute. At the same time, we have maintained a laser focus on those policies that will support residents in these and other wards in making active living and healthy eating choices, such as promoting after school supper policies; healthy vending options; a park ambassador initiative; and third-party reimbursement for community-based fitness facilities.


SHIRE accomplishments are many. Today, we are nationally recognized as an effective advocate for the adoption and use of health information technology in communities of color. Our work on data collection since 2001 contributed to language in the Affordable Care Act that requires the collection of race/ethnicity data in all federally-funded programs. SHIRE is also known as a leading voice in the DC campaign to prevent childhood obesity. These are “big picture” successes with broad impact that pave the way for our continued advocacy efforts.

We can point to programmatic accomplishments as well. Here are some examples:

  • SHIRE and partners have informed over 2,000 AmeriHealth Caritas DC members about wellness in wards 5, 7 and 8.
  • 600 individuals have participated in Wellness Circles on a sustained basis.
  • Nearly 60 percent of Wellness Circle participants have experienced improved health outcomes in blood pressure, glucose levels, BMI changes and weight loss
  • In partnership with People’s Co-op in Ward 8, SHIRE engaged over 300 community volunteers to build a KaBoom playground in one day. SHIRE convened over 140 partners as members of the Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative, nearly 50% of whom attended meetings regularly.
  • With Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities partners, SHIRE advocated successfully for DC’s participation in the Federal After School Meals program and for more healthy food choices East of the River.
  • With these partners, SHIRE also promoted with success District policies promoting the improvement and use of parks – efforts leading to a citywide “Outdoors for Health” coalition.
  • Over 100 youth and adult gardeners from three housing complexes participated in SHIRE’s neighborhood gardening project, conducted with Groundwork Anacostia River DC.
  • SHIRE has recruited, trained and deployed 75 youth and 75 adult peer educators to recruit program participants and share health information through skits, plays, health fairs, presentations to doctors’ offices and other venues.
  • Through outreach to neighbors, peer educators increased sales at a Ward 8 Farmers’ Market by 50%.
  • SHIRE’s Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention (SCOOP) program resulted in an increase in structured physical activity in child care centers from 45% to 72%.
  • The National Community-Based Organization Network of the American Public Health Association presented SHIRE with its “Unsung Heroes” award in October 2011.
  • The Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, Inc. presented SHIRE with its Organizational Partner Award in April 2015.
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