Author: Brian A Kelleher


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been anything but business as usual. Our team at UConn HDI has gone to extraordinary lengths to serve our institution and our communities during these times of grieving, pain, loss, and uncertainty.
The COVID-19 response activities we enacted and collaborated with stakeholders build on our strategic approaches and goal to advance health equity and reduce health disparities in the state of CT.
In the following report, we outline our COVID-19 response activities guided by our four strategic approaches to eliminating health disparities and advancing health equity:
• Support policy action and systems change.
• Change data-driven and public narratives about vulnerable populations.
• Deepen community engagement and cultivate cross-sector collaborations.
• Enhance health equity research, training, and innovation.

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19: Priorities for Action

Partners and UConn HDI release Priorities for Action_Racial Ethnic Disparities in COVID 19 report. These priorities are set forth by multi-sector organizations currently delivering urgently needed social, economic, spiritual support and health services to people of color. These short, mid, and long-term priorities for action are aimed at reducing racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 across Connecticut. The report also includes an interactive feature that compiles work to reduce racial/ethnic COVID-19 disparities already happening across Connecticut.

SAVE THE DATE – HDI June 2021 Summit

Update: Postponing the State of Health Equity among Boys and Men of Color Summit to June 2021

Dear partners and supporters of the UConn Health Disparities Institute (HDI),

We regret to inform you that our Planning Committee has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 State of Health Equity among Boys and Men of Color Summit scheduled to be held in Hartford, CT, in June, due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted many of the health inequities in our system, which mainly gives us pause as an organization charged with eliminating health disparities in CT. HDI and UConn Health have been actively monitoring the developments related to COVID-19 as well as the emerging outbreaks within the United States and elsewhere. After taking into consideration the fast-growing number of institutions across CT and the U.S. that have implemented travel bans; the directive from CT Governor Lamont to disallow large gatherings; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and recommendations on the progression of the virus; we have concluded that the health and safety of our partners, our attendees, and our communities are our top priority.

We will postpone the State of Health Equity among Boys and Men of Color Summit to June 2021. More information will be available in the coming months.

We want to recognize and thank our partners that dedicated their time to serving on the Planning Committee. We look forward to our sustained collaboration this year as we continue with the Summit planning.

To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, here are some things you can do:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Practice social distancing and avoid close contact with others
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
  • Stay home if you are sick and call your healthcare provider

Visit World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( to learn more about COVID-19 and ways to protect yourself and others. To locate resources and proper care, or to ask questions, contact your physician or call 2-1-1 in CT. Here is a resource of some ways for to take care of your mental and emotional well-being from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA).

We thank you for your patience, understanding, and support of the decision to postpone the Summit, in light of the rapidly evolving and complex situation and our commitment to prioritizing health. We are confident about the path moving forward, and we look forward to seeing you this Fall.

Wizdom Powell, Ph.D., MPH
Director | Health Disparities Institute
Associate Professor | Department of Psychiatry
UConn Health

UConn HDI Intern Spotlight: Tarik

UConn HDI shines because of the excellence that incoming interns bring. Some of our interns even stay for years while some interns gain experience for are short-term. Every single person creates objectives, withstanding projects, and contributes to UConn HDI’s initiatives and mission in a valuable way. Meet Tarik!



New Research Publication Alert Led by Dr. Wizdom Powell

New Publication led by UConn HDI Director, Dr. Wizdom Powell, Ph.D., MPH, with Jennifer Richmond, MSPH, Dinushika Mohottige, Ph.D., Irene Yen, Ph.D., Allison Joslyn, MA, and Giselle Corbie-Smith, Ph.D.! Read the full research article, “Medical Mistrust, Racism, and Delays in Preventative Health Screening Among African-American Men” in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine Special Issue.

Highlighted in UConn Today, we have often presumed that Black men delay preventative services because of longstanding medical mistrust. But, our new research findings affirm that racism plays an equally critical role.

Dr. Wizdom Powell Essay Published in KIDS COUNT and CT Mirror

Cover of the CT Mirror

As part of the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book: Taking Stock Considering the Future of Child Well Being and Family Opportunity in Connecticut, Dr. Wizdom Powell writes an essay on the importance of addressing childhood health disparities and centering on trauma-informed care among racial/ethnic minority populations in CT. Today, her essay was published in the CT Mirror.

HDI Announces Its 2nd Annual Visualizing Health Equity Art Contest

This year’s contest theme will focus on “Hope & Opportunities.” Artists can choose to focus on specific populations, such as boys and men of color, women and girls of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, homeless population, LGBTQ+, and more.

Entry Deadline: May 15, 2019
Open To Connecticut Residents
Age 10 and Older

For more information and how to enter, visit HDI 2nd Annual Visualizing Health Equity Art Contest page.

View our 2018 HDI Visualizing Health Equity Winners

Reduced Cost of Specialty Care Using eConsults for Medicaid Patients

Drs. Victor Villagra and Emil Coman of HDI, along with several contributors, published a research article entitled, “Reduced Cost Of Specialty Care Using Electronic Consultations For Medicaid Patients.” This article presents an analysis on the impact of eConsults on costs for four specialties: dermatology, endocrinology, orthopedics, and gastroenterology.