Launching MHS Serves: An innovative program to increase health equity

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I’m told that health is wealth.

Unfortunately, too often, people of color and other marginalized communities face large disparities in health outcomes that make life harder and more costly. Whether it is lack of access to quality health care, underfunded schools, low incomes, absence of sidewalks or even whether one feels isolated or safe in their community — the social determinants of health can add or detract from your quality of life.

The 2021 Worlds Further Apart Report by Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and The Polis Center found that in Indianapolis, “there was a clear widening of the gap between the longest and shortest living zip codes of the metro from 13.6 to 16.8 years — an increase of 3.2 years in the gap over the 2013 level.”

With life expectancy going in the wrong direction for communities, it is even more important to engage.

Black Onyx Management is proud to announce an innovative partnership with Managed Health Services (MHS) and Indiana Minority Health Coalition to launch MHS Serves.

MHS Serves is a new program that is taking a deliberate approach to addressing health equity across the state for people of color and marginalized communities. Through a collective impact, this new program seeks to propel the state of Indiana forward by supporting community-based organizations in providing resources required for improved health outcomes.

Founded in 2023, MHS Serves seeks to address health inequities and the disparities that they influence through the diffusion of evidenced-informed interventions and initiatives. The program will also serve as a convener of community-based organizations that have experience in addressing the root causes of health inequities and social drivers of health.

A cornerstone of this program is the MHS Serves Advisory Council. The council, composed of community leaders from across the state, will help MHS Serves identify strategic opportunities to address health inequities with a focus on Hoosiers belonging to historically marginalized populations.

The work of MHS Serves is data-driven. We recognize that systemic differences in health status among population groups have significant social and economic costs. MHS Serves leverages comprehensive data on health disparities in communities, allowing us to pinpoint the most impactful social determinants of health interventions. By targeting these key areas, we aim to create a ripple effect that positively influences overall community health.

The MHS Serves program will include funding for the diffusion of evidenced-based programs, community doula services, and a health equity fellowship.

MHS Serves is committed to fostering sustainable change. Through this work, we envision a future where health disparities are minimized, and health is transformed. Black Onyx Management Assistant Vice President Lauren Bickham will serve as the Equity Fund Director for MHS Serves.

For more information about the MHS Serves program, contact Lauren Bickham at strategicpartnerships@mhsserves.org.