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VOL. 129 | NO. 102 | Monday, May 26, 2014

Healthy Memphis Common Table Unveils New Name

By Don Wade

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Healthy Memphis Common Table’s fourth annual meeting and recognition luncheon included the launch of a new name and logo and the honoring of the inaugural Health Impact Award recipients.

The new name is Common Table Health Alliance, and the selection of a new logo was an interactive process, with people at each table at the Thursday, May 22, luncheon voting for one of three possible logos. The winning logo will be made available for public distribution after it has been registered.

The Impact Award recipients were David Williams, president and CEO of Leadership Memphis; Cristie Travis, CEO of Memphis Business Group on Health; and Calvin Anderson, chief of staff and senior vice president/corporate affairs at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.


Renee S. Frazier, CEO of Common Table Health Alliance, said it was important to keep the words “common table” in the name, noting the traction the name had gained in the community.

As part of the event, the nonprofit distributed highlights from its 2013 annual report. In 2013, 83 cents of every dollar spent went directly to programs and services. In 2012, the organization had $1.45 million in expenses and $1.45 million in total revenue. For 2013, expenses were $1.42 million and total revenue was $1.41 million (unaudited).

Among the more impactful health initiatives in 2013 was a partnership with Saint Patrick’s Community Outreach and the University of Memphis’ department of city and regional planning that provided fresh fruits and vegetables to more than 1,000 residents each month in 15 underserved Memphis communities.

The Common Table Health Alliance, as it is now known, also secured 30 commitments from local organizations to make smarter choices in company vending machines and at company-sponsored meetings. This policy reached more than 100,000 people in the Mid-South with the help of MBGH, Memphis Fast Forward and Leadership Memphis. The policy changes resulted in reducing an estimated 1 million calories at each organization.

Dr. Marshall Chin, the Richard Parrillo Family Professor of Health Care Ethics in the University of Chicago department of medicine, delivered the luncheon’s keynote, “Cracking the Code of Real Health Equity.” Chin also serves as director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change national program office.

Chin drew parallels between the challenges faced by the black community on the south side of Chicago and the predominately black population in the city of Memphis. Among the statistics Chin cited to show the reach of health disparities in Memphis: The infant mortality rate is three times greater for blacks than whites, and black women with breast cancer had a death rate three times that of whites.

Using a slide show, Chin took the audience through the “Roadmap to Reduce Disparities,” which was built in part from research in the Finding Answers’ 33 grantee projects. The six key points on the roadmap: 1. Linking quality and equity. 2. Creating a culture of equity. 3. Diagnosing the disparity. 4. Designing the activity. 5. Securing buy-in. 6. Implementing change.

“It’s not a single magic bullet,” Chin said.

To learn more about the Common Table Health Alliance, visit healthymemphis.org.

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