“Disparities were not created overnight, and they are not going to be removed overnight,” Dr. Joseph Betancourt told the Boston Globe a few years ago. “This has been a longstanding issue. These are vestiges of institutional racism, discrimination, resegregation. … We are making progress slowly.”
Few have worked harder than Dr. Betancourt to make that progress happen. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is proud to recognize his career-spanning commitment to educating the medical profession on how to provide equitable and culturally competent care with the Clarion Award for Health Promotion and Education. The award honors significant achievement in bringing public awareness to the issues and solutions that help improve the health and well-being of vulnerable people. Dr. Betancourt will be honored at a special ceremony in Boston on Nov. 7, the eve of the annual Schweitzer Leadership Conference.
A New York City native of Puerto Rican heritage who was raised in a bilingual, bicultural household in New York City, Dr. Betancourt first became concerned about health disparities as a student at New Jersey Medical School in the mid-1990s.
“I looked at the statistics of how many Latino physicians we have in this country and at the time it was like three percent,” he recalled in a Boston Business Journal interview last year. “I felt I had a responsibility to give a voice to a lot of people.”
Betancourt’s interest in eliminating disparities led him, along with colleagues Dr. Emilio Carrillo and Dr. Alex Green, to create a program for residents aimed at teaching them cultural competence as a way to deliver more equitable, quality care. The trio founded Quality Interactions, an e-learning program that provides patient-centered, cross-cultural training for health care professionals. The company has trained more than 125,000 health care workers around the country. The program has also been utilized by Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, and Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Betancourt―in addition to being a practicing internist―is the director of the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, which works with healthcare organizations to improve quality of care, address racial and ethnic disparities, and achieve equity. He is also the director of Multicultural Education at MGH. Additionally, he teaches cross-cultural medicine, health disparities, and health policy at MGH-Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. On top of that, he serves on the Boston Board of Health and the Massachusetts State Disparities Council.
In addition to receiving the Clarion Award, Dr. Betancourt will also be with us at the Leadership Conference for the aptly-titled closing plenary, “A Conversation With Joseph R. Betancourt.”
Come join the talk with Dr. Betancourt and hear his experiences and insights into how to provide culturally competent, quality health care to all people.
In addition to hearing from Dr. Betancourt, the Schweitzer Leadership Conference offers networking opportunities and a faculty roster of the most innovative minds currently working in the areas of health care, public policy and social justice.
Topics we’ll be exploring at this year’s Leadership Conference include:
- models of care for vulnerable elders
- confronting stereotypes of black males and violence
- understanding the effect of trauma on young children
- organizing to actively partner with communities to improve public health
The conference is filling up quickly, so register here and we’ll see you in November!