National Health Disparities Summit Recognizes Champions Fighting for Health Equity: Senator Harry Reed and Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi Honored; U.S. Diabetes Index Featured

National Health Disparities Summit Recognizes Champions Fighting for Health Equity

Senator Harry Reid and Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi Honored; U.S. Diabetes Index Featured

WASHINGTON, DC: The National Minority Quality Forum and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, in collaboration with the CBC Health Braintrust, honored Senator Harry Reid and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others at the National Health Disparities Summit “Innovation and Minority Health.” From cradle to grave, health disparities exist in the form of disease and disability prevalence, higher rates of infant mortality and earlier death for minority populations. Besides the human toll, the significant financial impact of health inequities affects all Americans. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that between 2003 and 2006, health and health care inequalities cost the U.S. $1.24 trillion in health care costs as well as economic impacts, such as lost wages and productivity.


“The politics of health care can have a chilling effect for providers, researchers, patient advocates, legislators and policymakers, causing the timid to withdraw, and leaving pain and suffering unresolved. Frequently, it is not enough to be competent or even brilliant in one’s discipline; in the face of withering criticism, it also takes courage to pursue a course that one knows will benefit others,” noted Dr. Gary Puckrein, CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum ( and host of the Summit.


“In most cases, the tens of thousands of lives that have benefited from their efforts are unaware of these actions and have no opportunity to offer words of appreciation. In these turbulent times, the very act of promoting well being, of developing new therapies, of providing access to quality care, can trigger criticism,” continued Puckrein.


The Summit honored four consummate Americans for their deep commitment and contributions to the United States in the area of health care: Senator Harry Reid, Majority Leader of the United States Senate; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and the former Speaker of the House; Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, FACC, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Cardiology, Morehouse School of Medicine; and Ms. Dorothy Ouchida, Director, Patient Advocacy and Professional Relations, Boehringer-Ingelheim.


“No matter the age, income, sex, race or ethnicity, the health and safety of the American people must come first. Each of these awardees, through words and deeds, have demonstrated an unswerving commitment to that ideal. On behalf of the voiceless tens of thousands who have benefited from their endeavors we rise to say ‘Thank you'” concluded Dr. Gary Puckrein, Summit Host and CEO of National Minority Quality Forum (

The U.S. Diabetes Index (USDI) (—the national index by which diabetes in the United States will be measured—was also featured at the Summit. USDI and its companion website,, provide the most comprehensive source of available data about people living with diabetes, their care, and the trends that are shaping the disease in the United States.


The National Minority Quality Forum ( is a non-profit healthcare research and educational organization dedicated to the elimination of health disparities. The Forum supports national and local efforts to eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness in racial and ethnic minorities and other special populations.