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Madie Minch

Dr. Elizabeth Hudson

PS 1010 Discussion

16 February, 2017

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The Civic Sphere

There are several non-profit organizations and personal projects in Michigan, and Detroit

more specifically, that focus on providing affordable healthcare to those who are normally not

able to afford it. Those who cannot afford quality healthcare include immigrants/minority groups

as well as those living just above the poverty line. It is my groups intention over the course of

this semester to either create a new project or join one of the existing local projects to further

help close the healthcare gap.

One of the individuals fighting this problem is a man in Detroit named Dr. Herbert

Smitherman has been working since 1997 to the uninsured and underserved find healthcare, (A

Success Story). During the research portion of this great project, Dr. Smitherman tracked the care

of over 33,000 uninsured patients and eventually transferred 55% of them to a family physician

or private practice where they were able to pay a fraction of the cost of an emergency room and

still receive the same if not better quality of healthcare. Dr. Smitherman estimates that two out

of three deaths in my state and in my city [Detroit] are due either to cardiovascular disease,

cancer, stroke, diabetes or chronic obstructive lung disease. Most of those are not only common

in the population I deal with but also very preventable with very basic care, (A Success Story).

Dr. Smitherman continues to use his own experience and expertise to help those in need of more

affordable healthcare options while at the same time continuing his career as the Associate Dean
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at Wayne States School of Medicine. The initiative has reached out and collaborated with local

schools such as Wayne State University and the University of Michigan in recent years in an

attempt to expand their domain (Szilagyi and Smith 2). If more projects like Dr. Smithermans

Voices of Detroit Initiative existed most if not all of Detroits population would be able to receive

affordable healthcare. The government is also working on a federal level combined with the civic

sphere (i.e. independent agencies) to achieve better access to healthcare. In 2015 the Agency for

Healthcare Research and Quality made a report on their research and their goals for the future.

Their first three goals include improving the overall quality of healthcare, improving the health

of the U.S. population in general, and reducing the cost of quality healthcare.

An organization called Color Me Healthy sells kits of recipes and educational activities

to parents of young children which are meant to instill healthy lifestyle choices in the children

while they are still impressionable. While they are not a non-profit organization (due to charging

for the kits previously mentioned), it is still my opinion that this organization has some small

part in the Civic Sphere. An online pamphlet called Health Equity in Michigan was written by

Color Me Healthy which details several recommendations and strategies meant to close the gap

between those who have access to healthcare and those who do not. Some of these

recommendations include improving race/ethnicity data collection, strengthening the capacity

of government and communities to develop and sustain effective partnerships and programs to

improve racial/ethnic health inequities, improve social determinants of racial/ethnic health

inequities through public education and evidence-based community interventions, ensuring

equitable access to quality healthcare, and strengthening community engagement, capacity, and

empowerment, (Michigan Health Equity Roadmap). While it is unclear whether or not this

organization has ever or plans to directly fight against unequal healthcare, they have certainly
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made it easier for others to do so. This pamphlet does not have a direct impact on closing the

healthcare gap but it is available and of great use to those who would like to try their hand at

improving access to healthcare.

There are many healthcare advocacy projects and agencies already in place that are

working hard to improve everyones access to quality healthcare. It is my opinion that healthcare

equity has the most potential to be improved through the Civic Sphere with projects such as Dr.

Smithermans Voices of Detroit Initiative and the guidelines laid out by the Color Me Healthy

organization due to the success already shown in such projects.

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Works Cited


"A Success Story: Expanding Health Care Options For Detroits Poor-The KHN

Interview." Kaiser Health News. Kaiser Family Foundation, 11 May 2011. Web. 02 Feb.



Szilagyi, Paul, and Lucille Smith. Voices of Detroit Initiative Annual Report 2010. Rep. N.p.:

n.p., n.d. Print.

United States. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2015 National Healthcare Quality

and Disparities Report and 5th Anniversary Update on the National Quality Strategy.

N.p.: n.p., 2015. Print.

Other Sources:

Michigan Health Equity Roadmap. N.d. Color Me Healthy.

"Color Me Healthy." Color Me Healthy. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.