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    Demonstrating Trustworthiness: Community-Academic Partnerships Improving Health Together

    June 3, 2024

    Join the AAMC Center for Health Justice for an interactive learning series

    About The Series

    Local organizations and leaders, which often have the deepest understanding of their own community’s health challenges, are best positioned to provide effective solutions. Through this interactive learning series, the AAMC Center for Health Justice aims to highlight approaches to building stronger collaboration between community organizations and academic medicine institutions to improve population health, especially in underserved communities. Key elements of the series will focus on relationship-building across sectors, strengthening partnerships, and co-designing effective education and communication strategies. Panelists will discuss their experiences, lessons learned, and offer suggestions based on their participation with the Center’s Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships program. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their experiences, ask questions, and engage with each other to forge new ideas and connections in small group discussions. 
    Additional details and registration information for each session in the series can be found at the links below. Please note that participants can join one or both sessions. Questions? Please contact the Center.

    Learning Series Session 1
    Promising Practices for Developing and Strengthening Community-Academic Partnerships

    Monday, July 1, 2024
    3:30 – 5 p.m. ET

    This session will focus on the experiences and lessons learned from three community-academic partnerships in Detroit, Mich.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Spokane, Wash. The panelists will share their strategies for developing mutually beneficial relationships between academics, their institutions, and community-based organizations and community members to build trust and improve community health. They will describe how trustworthiness is crucial to partnering and explore how they built upon existing community engagement work. Panelists will also share challenges they faced and how they overcame them as they participated in the AAMC Center for Health Justice’s Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships program. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their experiences, ask questions, and engage with each other to forge new ideas and connections in small group discussions. 

    Learning Series Session 2
    Walking the Talk: Co-Designing Impactful Education and Communication Strategies and Resources

    Monday, July 29, 2024
    3:30 – 5 p.m. ET


    During this session, panelists from the communities of Detroit, Mich.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Spokane, Wash. will continue the conversation about partnering locally to improve their community’s health, especially in underserved areas after two years of engagement with the AAMC Center for Health Justice’s Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships program. Attendees will learn about approaches to capacity building for effective partnerships across sectors and hear a range of perspectives and voices on co-developing education communication strategies and resources with community-based partners. Attendees will break into small groups to share their experiences, ask questions, and engage with each other to forge new ideas and connections to formulate their own local action steps.


    Jennifer Bretsch

    Jennifer Bretsch, MS

    Manager, Health Care Quality and Public Health Initiatives
    Director of Programs, Center for Health Justice
    Association of American Medical Colleges

    Jennifer Bretsch, MS, is driven by a passion for health equity and justice. She is manager of health care quality and public health initiatives for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). In this role, Bretsch addresses quality improvement, patient safety, vaccine acceptance, equity, and justice with learners to leaders in health professions schools and academic health systems. As co-principal investigator for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cooperative agreement to improve clinical and public health outcomes through national partnerships, she leads the Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships program with academic medicine institutions and their community-based organizations. Bretsch also serves as the director of programs for the AAMC Center for Health Justice, where she primarily contributes to strategy development and implementation and provides oversight and management of Center programs. Notably, she has a leadership role as lead facilitator for the Principles of Trustworthiness Toolkit Project working across the nation with multisector partnerships to continue to focus community wisdom and engagement and continuous improvement of the Toolkit, which is designed to help organizations foster trust and trustworthiness. In prior roles, Bretsch has contributed at the national, regional, and local levels to improve the quality of cancer care, cardiac care, public health, and address health and health care disparities in collaboration with hundreds of health care institutions, clinicians, and support staff. She received her master’s degree in public health from the State University of New York and her bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental sciences from East Stroudsburg University. She maintains her professional health care quality certification and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt as well as a member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality.

    Melinda Butsch Kovacic, MPH, PhD

    Melinda Butsch Kovacic, MPH, PhD

    Professor, College of Medicine
    Associate Dean of Research, College of Allied Health Sciences
    Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, UC Cancer Center
    University of Cincinnati

    Melinda Butsch Kovacic, MPH, PhD, is a passionate epidemiologist and community-partnered public health researcher on a mission to promote health and reduce the burden of cancer among people across the Cincinnati metropolitan area, particularly among under-resourced communities. Currently, her NIH-funded We Engage 4 Health (WE4H) program, which is led by a 20+ member community-academic partnership, utilizes community co-designed graphic-style stories and engaging learning experiences for children and adults to promote health literacy and interest in science and research participation. Importantly, she has partnered with fellow presenter Jack Kues, PhD, and the AAMC Center for Health Justice to invite and train community representatives to leverage graphic-style stories to initiate meaningful discussions in diverse communities about vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines. In collaboration with the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, WE4H is co-hosting a virtual Reducing Your Risk program for cancer survivors and their families that leverages short cancer-focused stories to promote regular visitation to primary care providers and encourage timely screening for second primary cancers. Butsch Kovacic has been community-partnered for 12+ years.

    John (Jack) Kues, PhD

    John (Jack) Kues, PhD

    Professor Emeritus, Family and Community Medicine
    College of Medicine 
    University of Cincinnati

    Jack Kues, PhD, is professor emeritus in family and community medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He received his PhD in social psychology from the University of Cincinnati and was on the faculty of the College of Medicine for 43 years before his retirement in 2022. Prior to his retirement, he was associate dean for research evaluation in the College of Medicine, associate director of the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center, and director of the Center for Improvement Science at the Center for Clinical & Translational Science & Training. He continues to teach team science and mentors over a dozen fellows and faculty. He is also actively involved in community-based research.

    Luis Manriquez, MD

    Luis Manriquez, MD

    Assistant Clinical Professor
    Community Health Equity Director, Office for Community Engagement and Health Equity
    Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
    Washington State University

    Luis Manriquez, MD, is an assistant clinical professor at the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane, Wash. where he leads health equity development efforts in the office of community engagement and health equity. As a medical student, he founded the Health Equity Circle, an interprofessional student group that equips students to take action on health equity with community partners using the tools of community organizing. Health Equity Circle students have worked with community partners to increase funding for affordable housing by $67 million, support a $327 million bond for early childhood education programs, protect medical interpretive services from budget cuts, and advocate for legislation requiring workers to have access to sick and safe leave at their jobs. Manriquez is a family physician and the lead provider of the CHAS Health Street Medicine team in Spokane. He is also working on developing clinical programs to bring patients and clinic staff together to address social determinants of health in collaboration with community partners. He is passionate about eliminating health inequities and making Washington the healthiest and most equitable state in the nation.

    Denise White Perkins, MD, PhD

    Denise White Perkins, MD, PhD

    Chair, Department of Family Medicine 
    Director, Healthcare Equity Initiatives
    Henry Ford Health

    Denise White Perkins, MD, PhD, is a board-certified family physician with a medical degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. For more than two decades, she has served as a relentless advocate for health equity in underserved, minoritized, and marginalized communities and enjoys a busy clinical practice caring for socially and medically complex patients at Henry Ford Health in Detroit, Mich. As chair of the department of family medicine at Henry Ford Health, she is committed to building a culture of service and scholarly excellence that will fuel nationally recognized innovations in primary care research, medical education, and patient care. She is a clinical professor at Michigan State University and an active physician investigator with funded research studies focused on assessing social determinants of health in patient care; reducing hypertension in African American men; optimizing diabetes care pathways; and improving the delivery of virtual care for older adults. White Perkins serves as director of healthcare equity initiatives for Henry Ford Health office of system diversity equity, inclusion and social justice, collaborating across the enterprise to design clinical, community, and educational interventions aimed at improving health care equity. She is currently a member of the Henry Ford Medical Group Board of Governors, the Board of Directors for the Southeast Michigan Center for Medical Education, and the Board of Directors for Brilliant Detroit. White Perkins welcomes opportunities to lead with humility as she leverages her experience in health care equity, medical education, and clinical family medicine to build mutually beneficial partnerships across academic, community, and health system sectors for the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in health care.