Health Net Medi-Cal President and Other Leaders Meet to Address Racism in California Healthcare System
Tuesday, February 7, 2023, marked the 27th Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) yearly conference. Themed "Cultivating an Equitable Future of Health", this year's conference was the first in-person meeting since 2020.
Health Net Medi-Cal President Martha Santana-Chin was a featured speaker at this year's event. She joined many of California's leaders and stakeholders to share her knowledge on how to create a more equal and fair health system statewide.
Martha took part in a panel discussion titled "Systemic Change: Innovations Fostering an Anti-Racist Health Care System". Along with the other guests, Martha gave her thoughts on how systemic racism can continue to be addressed throughout the state's healthcare system. She also spoke about how to build an anti-racist health system that inspires all Californians to live their healthiest lives.
The panel touched on topics such as:
- How policy makers can learn from current equity campaigns and efforts. And, how they can measure progress and success.
- How to ensure cultural competency efforts address the root of systemic problems.
- How to partnerships that address and meet the needs of a wide range of communities.
- What solutions can be applied now to help address current bias in methods and data.
- What each guest thought were the next crucial steps needed to combat systemic racism in healthcare.
Structural racism is widespread and has greatly impacted all facets of society – this includes healthcare. The good news is Health Net has more than 40 years of working hand-in-hand with the state to build Medi-Cal and serve California's most at-risk residents. We know the local needs of the communities we serve and work to address things like racism.
"One of the things Health Net recognizes is that we have to approach all of this with humility," Martha explained during the discussion. "We have the benefit of working in a state that recognizes the importance of how to get much needed care to the members that we serve."
Health Net also knows that health equity begins with cultural and community-specific programs and partnerships. This is why we've launched partnerships with many community groups. And, we have worked from within to help foster an anti-racist company through myriad programs and services.
"We recognize that education is really critical," Martha detailed. "So as an organization we have for some time – a significant number of years – been focused on cultural competency…Cultural competence is not a training that you take and then all of a sudden you recognize all the ills of the past and know how to solve for them. It's a learning journey for all of us and every day we learn something new. It's a journey – and one that we're very excited about taking."