When assessing the factors that limit the quality of life for residents in Pontiac, addressing racial health inequities and disparities through a comprehensive view of the Social Determinants of Health framework is critical. Pontiac residents face an average life expectancy 20-years lower than residents in neighboring communities.
It is for this reason that Pontiac Community Foundation created the Task Force on Racial Health Inequities with the goal of creating a long-term strategy and action plan for addressing these disparities in the City of Pontiac. To accomplish this goal, members of the Task Force on Racial Health Inequities met regularly from February 2021 through November 2021 to identify focus areas, discuss goals, and develop action steps to tackle major systemic inequities in the City of Pontiac.
Members of the Task Force on Racial Health Inequities include:
● Dustin McClellan, Founder & CEO of Pontiac Community Foundation
● Scott Stewart, Vice President of Program at Pontiac Community Foundation
● Sonia Acosta, CEO of Centro Multicultural La Familia
● Rosemary Bayer, Pontiac’s State Senator
● Eisha Branner, CEO of E-Community Outreach Services
● Deb Brinson, CEO of Honor Community Health
● Torrey Carroll, Chief HR and Diversity Officer at Honor Community Health
● Rita Fields, Chief Talent & Strategy Officer at Lighthouse
● Gill Garrett, Community Policing Officer and Pontiac School Board President
● Melanie Grund, Community Engagement Liaison at Oakland County
● Chris Jackson, Owner of Lansing Pharaohs and Community Leader
● Angela Moore, Radio Host (910AM) and Empowerment Coach
● Tameka Ramsey, Owner of T. Ramsey & Associates and Community Leader
Social Determinants of Health Framework
The Task Force has the following focus areas:
Poverty: A system that has perpetuated racism and entrenched people in a generational welfare state, limiting economic mobility, creating a lack of opportunity and hope, and providing a detrimental quality of life. The normalization of elements of poverty into laws and policies force people into financial disparities, including lack of access to jobs that pay a livable wage.
Exposure to Trauma/Violence: Exposure to early and/or cumulative trauma that negatively impacts someone’s life on an individual, community, and systemic level and the long-term impacts on their view and response to society, particularly when that trauma is normalized, involuntary, generational.
Support Systems: Welcoming, non-judgmental, culturally and linguistically relevant care, through programs, systems, community and individuals that understand the issues, and offer solutions that meet people where they are and empower people to achieve their aspirations.
Now that the action plan has been developed, PCF plans to release the plan to the community in Spring 2022 and aims to convene Action Groups for each of the priority focus areas. As part of the action plan, the Task Force identified key partners, success metrics, and timelines for the listed actions that will be used to address implementation. Members will work over the next few years to accomplish these actions.