RJ Shannon to assist with addressing health disparities across all BTCD programs

I’m excited to report that effective today, RJ Shannon will bring her vast knowledge and skills in helping us build the overall capacity of our bureau to address health disparities across all program areas.

Across the U.S., there is a growing concern that people in disparate, high-risk populations (e.g. African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and all peoples of low socio-economic status) will “fall through the cracks” of healthcare reform.  Likewise, members of impoverished communities will continue to suffer from disparities in economic opportunity and meaningful wage.  This has serious and continued implications for the many programs in BTCD, as well as the Public Health Prevention Services in general.

In an effort to bolster our own capacity to deliver impactful programs, and build on our recent work in targeted communities in border, Native, and urban settings, we will be seeking ways to integrate select health and socio-economic development programs that have traditionally operated in silo fashion despite the hard fact that they are targeting the same high-risk populations.  To this end, I have asked RJ to assist me directly by identifying possible initiatives, and lending a hand to an examination of future possibilities in programming.  Pilot programs only make sense when they yield results and can be replicated and leveraged toward larger venues.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be identifying a range of tasks aimed at capturing RJ’s skills in various components of our work, as well as opportunities in the larger picture of health disparities in ADHS as a whole.  Please join me in welcoming RJ to the many horizons that await us.


Wayne Tormala, Chief
Arizona Department of Health Services
Bureau of Tobacco & Chronic Disease
150 N. 18th Avenue, Suite 310
Phoenix, Arizona  85007-2602 


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