Gathering Around the Common Table

Posted on April 28, 2015

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common table

BY: KELSEY YOUNG
Since 2000, Common Table Health Alliance has been in the Memphis area encouraging health and healthcare equity. Initially a public benefit cooperation called Justice in Health Care Foundation, the company evolved into a nonprofit organization first entitled Healthy Memphis Common Table. Then, in 2014, the organization changed its name one last time to reach beyond the Greater Memphis area. Within Memphis, Common Table serves as a catalyst for improvement in community health as it aims to reduce childhood and family obesity, eliminate health disparities, improve healthcare quality, and inspire and educate caregivers, patients, and consumers.

According to a study conducted by the Methodist North Hospital in 2010, African American patients hospitalized for heart failure 15 years younger than white patients, and soon after the study was published, Common Table set out to remedy this health disparity. As their first step to solving the problem, Common Table identified disparities in Memphis through a standard collection of race, ethnicity, and Language (REL) data. Several hospitals in Memphis adopted this practice into their hospital systems, improving their quality of care to their patients.

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), a community program of Common Table Health Alliance, further attacks the health disparities. Memphis is one of sixteen communities in the country participating in the program. AF4Q is the effort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated to public health, to lift healthcare in the United States. With the helps of physicians, nurses, patients, consumers, hospitals, and health plans, AF4Q produces and publishes physician and hospital report cards, boosting healthcare quality. In 2009, 144 deaths occurred as a result of breast cancer in Shelby County, while Davidson County, where Nashville is located, only had 73 deaths from breast cancer. AF4Q works to change Shelby County’s high number by providing early detection and prevention for diseases through their report cards.
AF4Q is not the only community program of Common Table. The organization encompasses much more including the program Diabetes for Life, a disease self-management program, Let’s CHANGE, an initiative to fight childhood and family obesity, and Preferred Choice, a nutritional campaign.

With the goal to improve community health, Common Table endorses Church Health Center’s event “Walking as One.” A day of celebration of wellness and a fundraiser for the organization’s Faith Community Nursing Ministry, the Church Health Center welcomes everyone to walk 1.5 miles on April 11th at 9am at Church Health Wellness Center located on Union Avenue.
For those interested in the future of public health, on Tuesday May 12th from 11am to 1:30pm, Common Table will hold its 2015 Annual Meeting with the Community at the Racquet Club of Memphis. Thomas A. LaVeist, PhD, professor in Health Policy and Management at the John Hopkins University and member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, is the featured guest speaker. His lecture will focus in the IOM’s efforts at shaping the future of the health care delivery system. A future that could eventually hit Memphis.

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Posted in: Health