The newest Pozen Commonwealth Fund Fellows in Health Equity Leadership, who include a leader in the effort to end gun violence and a pediatrician and advocate for children’s health, began their Yale SOM education with an online immersion in June.
The Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship brings healthcare practitioners to Yale SOM for 22 months of study in the healthcare area of focus of the MBA for Executives program, as well as specialized training and mentoring from experts in the disparities in healthcare access and outcomes that affect people of color and other vulnerable populations. Created in collaboration with the Commonwealth Fund and endowed by a gift from Robert C. Pozen, the program gives practitioners the leadership skills and the understanding of teams, markets, and organizations necessary to tackle major inequities in the U.S. healthcare system.
Two fellows are joining the MBA for Executives Class of 2022: Fatimah Loren Muhammad, executive director of the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, and Dr. Mikah Owen, a primary care pediatrician and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Davis. They joined the three fellows in the EMBA Class of 2021 for two days of discussions with program leadership and experts in healthcare equity; this month, they’ll begin the MBA for Executives program with a two-week residency.
Muhammad was trained as a psychotherapist and previously served as deputy director of the criminal justice reform organization Equal Justice USA. She has led the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI) since January 2019.
HAVI takes a public health approach to gun violence, Muhuammad said. “We do so by supporting the development of hospital-based violence intervention programs, which address the needs of boys and men of color who are victims of violence. Evidence from these programs show that if we address the social and structural determinants of health further upstream, we can have an impact on cycles of violence without heavily relying on the criminal justice system.”
“I am honored to be a part of this fellowship,” she added. “I ultimately want to transform health systems and care delivery in communities of color. To do so, it is critical that I refine my understanding of the economic incentives that drive those systems. My goal is to align the economics of healthcare with the values of equity and racial justice.”
Owen was a pediatrician and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville before joining the University of California, Davis, earlier this year. In addition to providing patient care, he works on community-based initiatives to advance the health of children from marginalized communities and backgrounds.
“I believe that children deserve an equitable chance to reach their full potential,” he said. “Unfortunately, many children are robbed of that opportunity. In my pediatric practice I was becoming increasingly frustrated that I was not adequately addressing the root causes of poor health and well-being outcomes experienced by my patients. I know the complex problems and issues experienced by my patients and their families are not going to be solved in the clinic; they require moving beyond the clinical setting to address the social and environmental determinants of health.”
Through the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship, Owen said, “I will gain a better understanding of health systems and how they intersect with other sectors. It will help me learn how to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system and how to advocate for systemic changes aimed at achieving equity in child health and well-being.”