The Arkansas Health Equity Collaboration is a partnership between the Institute, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Delta Population Health Institute. We believe that all Arkansans deserve a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This group has determined four areas to make these improvements: accessing resources, education, policies, and health and well-being in the workforce.

As we move forward, these groups will be working to implement their projects in preparation for a public showcase in late August 2024. The goal of the collaboration is to increase the number of healthy Arkansans. We invite you to become involved in this work in whatever capacity you see fit.

Based on the April 2023 keynote from Dr. Tiffany Manuel, CEO and President of TheCaseMade, the Collaboration developed a problem statement that drives the work being done by our four groups:

“There is a lack of trust and sense of powerlessness around addressing health equity barriers within communities most affected. This disenfranchises communities and cultures and prevents everyone from fully contributing their perspectives to health equity initiatives and engaging with possible resolutions.”

Arkansa Health Equity Collaboration Problem Statement

The working groups formed are as follows:

This group is exploring how to cultivate relationships with multi-sector partners and is looking into developing a resource hub similar to those in other states. This hub would provide resources for bridging the gaps in obtaining equitable health care related to mental/behavioral health, food security, transportation, insurance, and public health information.

We never truly stop learning about health and wellness, so this group will focus on both formal and informal public health education. Projects include a community asset map that highlights existing public health education practices across the state and developing a toolkit for providing public health education to underrepresented communities. 

This group is creating a toolkit for bringing health equity to employers. It will provide resources on addressing health equity gaps within the workplace and make a business case for health equity. This group is also looking into the intersections between health equity gaps and broadband gaps, a topic that came up multiple times in focus groups and our two in-person summits at the Institute.

This group is developing a set of public policy guiding principles to advocate for health in policies — not just health care policies. The goal is to ensure that health and well-being are considered in all aspects of public policy to create healthier Arkansans no matter who they are or where they live. 

Creating the Arkansas Health Equity Collaboration

“Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2017

This program focuses on the social determinants of health. We are exploring significant factors impacting health disparities outside the health care setting. All of the following are driving forces of health outcomes in our communities: 

  • Where we live
  • Where we learn 
  • Where we grow
  • Where we play

In preparation for this new program, the Institute facilitated 10 focus groups across Central Arkansas and all four state quadrants, including in-person focus groups in North Little Rock, Fort Smith, Monticello, Camden, West Memphis, and Springdale (shown below).

Our Partners

Contact Person

Aaron Keith Kennard

Program 242-9885

The next meeting of this cohort will be held March 4-5, 2024, at the Institute. For more information about registering, please reach out to me!