Research has shown that people of color, especially Black people, face inequity in health care that can carry over into worse health outcomes. The issue is complex and involves multiple factors like implicit bias, structural racism within the medical system that skews tools and technology, income disparities and historic mistrust in health care.
Local experts have been studying these disparities, how they arise and what to do about them. Tracey Conti, chair of family medicine at Pitt School of Medicine and UPMC, and her team at UPMC went out into communities and asked residents what they needed. A result of that collaboration is the UPMC Health Plan Neighborhood Center, a new resource in East Liberty scheduled to open Dec. 6. The center, in The Village at Eastside, 6401 Penn Avenue, will have a free food pantry, telehealth services, temporary childcare and educational and professional support like access to resources to complete a GED.
“A lot of times, decisions are made in board rooms without people in the community present, and then people are surprised when the community doesn’t want it,” said Conti. The new center is a direct result of trust-building between health care and communities. “You gain trust by consistently being there, not just by conducting a study and leaving,” she said.

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