Northeast Delta Human Services Authority offers innovative approach to move health care in America forward

Health Care in America: A Way Forward

Health Care in America: A Way Forward

“These same influences are shaped and influenced by war, religious revival, protest movements, economic realities, pandemics,” Dr. Sizer said. “We see it in health care.”

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) recognizes that access to quality, competent health care has been a challenge for citizens in its 12-parish service area and has worked as a local governing entity to bring solutions to many who have been underserved or served inadequately. NEDHSA’s work through its primary health and behavioral health care integration is one way forward for health care in America as it is a progressive approach to reaching the best outcomes in caring for people with multiple healthcare needs.

Through its integrated health care service, NEDHSA looked closely at the negative social determinants of health outcomes such as education, employment, housing, and transportation and established programs to combat these challenges.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said America’s founding federal and state constitutional documents are “brilliantly written and aspirational as they call us to our highest and most noble virtues.”

“They speak of freedom, faith, justice, opportunity, fairness, fellowship, among other things,” Dr. Sizer said. “However, while enjoyed by many Americans, many still struggle to grasp or keep the promises of those inspiring documents.”

With that understanding, Dr. Sizer established NEDHSA’s vision to catalyze and transform the lives of the citizens as a way forward for health care. NEDHSA’s innovative approach to health outreach and health services yields results through its Faith Partnership Initiative that provides in-depth training in four areas awareness, readiness, development, and sustainability; and its Prevention and Wellness services, where it brings awareness to areas such as underage drinking, opioid use, and grief and recovery.

Through a series of town talk meetings, NEDHSA found that the traditional healthcare system was not equitable to all.

Dr. Sizer said the interactive nature of the way Americans establish norms, values, resource distribution channels, religion, education, political institutions, and social hierarchies “disproportionately favor some at the expense of others.”

“These same influences are shaped and influenced by war, religious revival, protest movements, economic realities, pandemics,” Dr. Sizer said. “We see it in health care.”

Dr. Sizer specifically noted America’s struggle with COVID-19. He said during the initial months, “We saw history revealed itself as the poor and most vulnerable got sick and died disproportionately.”

“When the discussion raged between individual choices, genetic predispositions, structural racism, poverty, and limited access to health care, and when history revealed itself through clinical research challenges, vaccine distribution problems, vaccine hesitancy, and trust issues,” Dr. Sizer said.

NEDHSA has provided COVID-19 surveys and research to understand its clients’ challenges during the pandemic and has encouraged the public to get vaccinated.

Dr. Sizer said, “He believes health care can be the unifying glue that brings our nation’s complexity together.”

“We all get sick. We all want to be cared for when we become ill. And we are all going to die,” Dr. Sizer said. “A person’s race, ethnicity, education, money, where they live, their political affiliation, or faith tradition they believe in or don’t believe in cannot save them from these inevitabilities.”

In July, NEDHSA announced its Rise Above Stigma project to provide targeted training and catalyze an outreach community engagement campaign to impoverished parish members.

The health stigma reduction effort aims to help increase access to behavioral health support services, provide mental health awareness, and other culturally and linguistically appropriate training for the twelve parish communities in northeast Louisiana.

Dr. Sizer said, “The solutions exist within the problem, America’s complexity.”

“America must be honest. In doing so, we must insist on opportunities for all with partialities shown to none,” Dr. Sizer said. “Next, we must seek justice, freedom, equity, seek to adopt new knowledge and beliefs, and develop compassion for those sick and hurting in our nation. These are the same aspirations found in our founding documents. Finally, we need to summon the courage as a nation to be what we say.”

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