More than a decade into the 21st century, Americans still face tremendous variations in health and health care, depending on what they look like, where they come from, what they earn and other factors.
Addressing this inequality will be the focus of a new leader at the U-M Health System.
After a national search, the Board of Regents on Feb. 21 approved the appointment of Dr. Carmen R. Green as the Health System’s inaugural associate vice president and associate dean for health equity and Inclusion, effective Feb. 1.
An outcomes researcher, Green has uncovered inequalities in pain and pain care based on race, ethnicity, gender and other factors across the lifespan. An innovator, her research has transformed the understanding of health inequities and influenced public policy. A national leader, she has worked locally and nationally to develop and enhance the health sciences pipeline for underrepresented minorities and women.
Green will use her clinical, education, research and public policy experiences to lead UMHS efforts to find and address inequities in care, education, and research in Michigan and beyond, and to create an equitable pathway for individuals entering health careers, especially those who are underrepresented in health care.
Among the key goals for Green are: promoting health and educational equity and community engagement while enhancing and respecting the diversity of the UMHS workforce and patient base, and creating conditions that enhance the care of the underserved at UMHS and beyond using scientific principles. She will report to both the dean of the Medical School and the CEO of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers — a sign of the post’s strategic importance to UMHS.
“Our patients, our staff and faculty, and the future professionals we train all will benefit from Dr. Green’s expertise and leadership,” says Doug Strong, CEO of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers. “Our institution must work to achieve health equity and inclusion in every facet of our operations.”
Dr. James O. Woolliscroft, dean of the Medical School, notes that many U-M health researchers and educators already pursue a broad range of projects that quantify and seek ways to address inequality. “To effectively mitigate this issue, we must work to enhance the pipeline of future health professionals, facilitate access for learners from diverse backgrounds, and create a workforce that actively addresses inequities while caring for patients from our state and across the nation,” he says.
Green graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, did her residency and fellowship training in anesthesiology and pain medicine, and joined the faculty at the Medical School as an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology.
She rose through the ranks to her current position as a tenured professor of anesthesiology, with joint appointments in the Medical School’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health. She is co-director for the Community Liaison Core and director of the Healthier Black Elders Center for the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research at the Institute for Social Research.
Her research focuses on pain management outcomes, physician decision-making, and access to care — and has documented disparities due to age, race, gender, and class across the lifespan. She has also found community-based structural barriers to health and pain care, including clear disparities in access to pain medication for blacks, women and low-income individuals with chronic pain.
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“Precious People: Black & White Photography” by Marco Mancinelli, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Gifts of Art Gallery, Taubman Health Center North Lobby.