CMS Conference 2023 Health Equity

CMS Quality Conference 2023: Fostering Community Resilience and Health Equity

May 13, 2023

Explore the CMS Quality Conference 2023. Here, we highlight insights from experts Dr. Tabia Akintobi, Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi, and Dr. Saadia Khizer, brought together by GA CEAL and HHCGA.


The CMS Quality Conference 2023 stood as a testament to the relentless pursuit of health equity and community resilience, hosting many prominent figures in the medical field. Three speakers stood out in particular: Dr. Tabia Akintobi, Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi, and Dr. Saadia Khizer, each bringing unique perspectives and invaluable insights into the complex landscape of public health.

Dr. Tabia Akintobi: The Georgia Prevention Research Center

Dr. Tabia Akintobi, a renowned expert from the Georgia Prevention Research Center, captured the audience's attention with her profound understanding of community health. She believes,

"Partnership and collaboration are the backbone of health equity, transforming ideas into actions."

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH)

CCPH, an initiative aiming to foster health equity, has identified several objectives:

  1. Advocate for policies that reduce health disparities.
  2. Develop a network of partnerships for collaborative actions.
  3. Promote knowledge sharing across communities and institutions.

Community Coalition Board (CCB)

CCB plays an integral role in addressing health disparities by advocating for health initiatives and fostering partnerships. Dr. Akintobi shared, "The achievements of the CCB reflect the power of community action and partnership."

Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi: Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia

Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi, a stalwart in the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia, emphasized the importance of resilience in communities.

Community Resiliency

Community resiliency is the community's ability to adapt to adversities and maintain functionality. It hinges on two key elements: adaptability and purposefulness. Borghi states,

"A multi-pronged approach that addresses social, economic, and health challenges is vital for community resilience."

Challenges and Anticipated Constraints

She further identified language and cultural barriers, as well as transportation and technology deficits as key challenges. Borghi urged, "Overcoming barriers in real-time is crucial for effective community health interventions."

Building Resilient Communities

Building trust and engaging the entire family in health initiatives are critical steps in fostering resilient communities. Borghi reiterated, "Education is the cornerstone of resilience – it empowers communities to make informed health decisions."

Resilience Factors

Borghi outlined the significance of protective factors (such as strong role models and optimism) over risk factors, stating, "Protective factors build resilience, enabling communities to thrive amidst adversities."

Dr. Saadia Khizer: Vaccine Trial Unit

Dr. Saadia Khizer, a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist at the Morehouse School of Medicine, shed light on the role of the NIH Vaccine Trial Unit, established in August 2020.

Vaccine Trial Unit Mission and Morehouse School of Medicine

The Vaccine Trial Unit's mission is to address health inequities through safe and effective vaccine development and trials. This aligns with Morehouse School of Medicine's mission to eliminate health disparities.

Morehouse School of Medicine's Role in Vaccine Trials

Morehouse School of Medicine's involvement in the Novavax adult vaccine trial, particularly targeting minority populations, showcased the importance of diversity in vaccine trials. Dr. Khizer stressed,

"Representation in vaccine trials is critical in ensuring equitable health outcomes."

Impact of Vaccine Trials

The trials have had a profound impact on the community, particularly in addressing COVID-19 related inquiries. Dr. Khizer shared, "The resilience and courage of trial participants are awe-inspiring. Their participation is instrumental in our fight against the pandemic."

Vaccine Development and Trials

The development and trials of Novavax, a EUA-approved vaccine, including its booster, showcased the triumphs in vaccine science. The Morehouse School of Medicine also played a pivotal role in the CoVpn network, expediting the production and dissemination of vaccines.

Ongoing Studies

Ongoing studies focusing on the effectiveness of FDA-approved medications for COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients highlight the continuous strides in combating the virus. The Hummingbird study, focusing on Novavax in children, presents promising prospects. Dr. Khizer emphasized, "Ongoing research is our greatest weapon in combating COVID-19."

The Future of Vaccine Trials and Preparedness

Dr. Khizer stressed the need for future preparedness, drawing lessons from the current pandemic. She stated, "Preparedness is not an option but a necessity. Future pandemics require us to be equipped with a robust emergency preparedness plan."

Dr. Tabia Akintobi: Community Engagement and Resilience

Dr. Akintobi underlined the importance of community engagement in the recovery from a pandemic, stating, "The solutions to our health problems lie within our communities."

Marketing Campaign for Vaccination

A community-based marketing campaign proved effective in promoting vaccinations. Tools like geo-fencing, geo-mapping, and social media played vital roles in disseminating accurate information. Dr. Akintobi affirmed, "Social media is a powerful tool for information dissemination, provided it is harnessed responsibly."

Community Coalition Board (CCB) and its Wisdom

CCB's wisdom was invaluable in understanding the thoughts and actions of primarily black and Latinx communities in Georgia towards the COVID-19 vaccine, child participation, and testing. Dr. Akintobi reiterated,

"Engaging voices in the community is key in crafting effective health strategies."

Predictors for COVID-19 Testing

Factors such as gender, race, employment, education level, and trust in federal health authorities influenced COVID-19 testing. Dr. Akintobi stated, "Trust plays a fundamental role in testing—it's the bedrock of public health measures."

Predictors for COVID-19 Vaccination

By 2022, the increase in vaccinations was influenced by factors like race, age, employment, knowledge about COVID-19, and trust in federal health authorities. Dr. Akintobi affirmed, "Knowledge and trust are instrumental in decision-making for vaccinations."

Concerns and Motivations Regarding Vaccination

Concerns about side effects and the safety of the vaccine were contrasted by motivations centering on the safety of their family, community, and themselves. Dr. Akintobi concluded, "Addressing community concerns and promoting the benefits of vaccination are paramount in our fight against this pandemic."

The CMS Quality Conference 2023 proved to be an enlightening platform, shedding light on the strides in medical advancements and the importance of community resilience. The insights shared by Dr. Tabia Akintobi, Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi, and Dr. Saadia Khizer painted a comprehensive picture of the current health landscape and the crucial role of collaboration and equity in fostering community resilience.

Together, these three experts presented an inspiring vision of a future where health equity is a reality, and every community is resilient and empowered to face health challenges. Their collective message was clear: through partnership, collaboration, and engagement, we can overcome any health challenge that comes our way.

Key Takeaways

  1. Importance of Collaboration and Partnership: Dr. Tabia Akintobi emphasized the need for community-campus partnerships for health equity. The Georgia Prevention Research Center, under her leadership, exemplifies this commitment to collaborative work.

  2. Community Resilience: Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi stressed the importance of community resilience in addressing health challenges. Her work with the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia reinforces the need for adaptability and purposefulness in health initiatives.

  3. Overcoming Barriers: Borghi highlighted the real-time barriers to health equity, such as language, cultural barriers, and technology deficits. Overcoming these barriers is crucial for building resilient communities.

  4. Representation in Vaccine Trials: Dr. Saadia Khizer, through her work with the NIH Vaccine Trial Unit and Morehouse School of Medicine, underscored the importance of diverse representation in vaccine trials.

  5. Ongoing Vaccine Research: The development and trials of Novavax, a EUA-approved vaccine, and the ongoing studies on the effectiveness of FDA-approved medications for COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients underscore the importance of continuous research in combating COVID-19.

  6. Community Engagement: Dr. Akintobi highlighted the critical role of community engagement in overcoming the challenges of a pandemic. Community voices and trust play a significant role in the successful rollout of health initiatives, such as vaccinations.

  7. Future Preparedness: Dr. Khizer highlighted the lessons learned from this pandemic and the importance of being prepared for future ones. Vaccine trials play a significant role in our preparedness for future health crises.

  8. The Role of Trust and Knowledge: Both Dr. Akintobi and Borghi emphasized the role of trust and knowledge in influencing decisions to get tested and vaccinated. Addressing community concerns and promoting the benefits of vaccination is crucial for overcoming a health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the CMS Quality Conference 2023?

The CMS Quality Conference 2023 is a premier event that brings together health experts and stakeholders to discuss advancements in medical science and health equity.

2. Who were the key speakers at the CMS Quality Conference 2023?

Dr. Tabia Akintobi from the Georgia Prevention Research Center, Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi from the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia, and Dr. Saadia Khizer from the NIH Vaccine Trial Unit were the key speakers at the conference.

3. What is the role of the Community Coalition Board (CCB)?

The CCB is pivotal in addressing health disparities by fostering partnerships between communities and academic institutions and ‌promoting health equity.

4. What is the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia?

The Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia (HHCGA) provides access to information, advocacy, and education for underserved populations.

5. What is the Vaccine Trial Unit's mission?

The Vaccine Trial Unit's mission is to address health inequities through safe and effective vaccine development and trials, focusing on emerging infections, HIV, and other vaccine-preventable conditions.

6. What is Morehouse School of Medicine's role in vaccine trials?

Morehouse School of Medicine has been actively involved in vaccine trials, including the Novavax adult vaccine trial, focusing on minority representation to ensure equitable health outcomes.

7. What are the predictors for COVID-19 testing and vaccination?

Predictors for COVID-19 testing and vaccination include factors such as gender, race, employment, education level, knowledge about COVID-19, and trust in federal health authorities.

8. What is the importance of diversity in vaccine trials?

Diversity in vaccine trials is important because it ensures that the vaccine is effective and safe for all demographic groups. This is crucial in addressing health disparities and promoting health equity.

9. What is the Novavax vaccine and how is it related to Morehouse School of Medicine?

Novavax is an EUA-approved vaccine for COVID-19. Morehouse School of Medicine was involved in the adult vaccine trial of Novavax, specifically focusing on minority representation.

10. How is the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia building resilient communities?

The Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia is building resilient communities by addressing language and cultural barriers, engaging the entire family in health initiatives, and focusing on education. They also work to build trust and confidence within the communities they serve.

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