Yesterday was a good day for the City of St. Louis. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was in town for some early morning Grand Round lectures at her alma mater, Washington University of St. Louis. During the rest of the day she was hosted by the City of St. Louis Department of Health.
Once informed Dr. Walensky would be lecturing in St. Louis at Washington University her staff reached out to the City of St. Louis Department of Health to meet with Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis. Although Dr. Davis was humbled by the invite she proposed not only meeting with her and her staff but inviting the CEOs of the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) serving the City. Without hesitation the proposal was accepted.
Dr. Davis invited Dwayne Butler, CEO Betty, Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers; Angela Clabon, CEO CareSTL Health; Dr. Alan Freeman President and CEO of Affinia Healthcare; and Dr. Robert Massie, CEO Family Care Health Centers, to join her in meeting with Dr. Walensky and during the meeting all four executives were given the opportunity to share their healthcare center stories, request resources, and ask questions.
“I felt it was important for the CDC Director to meet with leaders of the FQHCs whose healthcare centers have been extremely critical to the City’s COVID-19 response but who shoulder the burden for the day to day nonCOVID-19 healthcare and wraparound services for many of our most vulnerable residents,” says Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis. “These leaders don’t always get a seat at the table but they are out there on the frontline doing the work. Their efforts are truly health equity in action – providing opportunities for everyone to attain their highest level of health.”
Some of the topics that were discussed included assistance with bridges to sustainable systems, workforce development concerns, prioritization of FQHC as healthcare service providers, and the challenges with making all-inclusive policy decisions for the variety of areas and diversity of populations across the county.