MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare announced the creation of a new leadership role dedicated to eradicating health disparities in our community.
Sandra Madubuonwu, MSN, RN, has been named the health system’s new senior director of social determinants of health and wellness. As a senior leader, Madubuonwu will spearhead system-wide initiatives to improve outreach to underserved communities in the Mid-South. She will develop and oversee a comprehensive strategy to address social disparities in community health and identify systemic causes of those disparities. In particular, Madubuonwu’s new role will allow the MLH system to strengthen the work currently being done by the Congregational Health Network and other system-wide outreach programs in chronic disease self-management.
For the past 11 years, Madubuonwu has focused her dedication of reducing social disparities by leading the Maternal and Child Health program at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Madubuonwu will report directly to Dr. Albert Mosley, MLH’s Chief Mission Integration Officer.
“MLH has long sought to address the factors that contribute to health disparities in our community including: sponsoring community health screenings, investing in community partnerships and decreasing barriers to access health services. The current COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need to reduce disparities in our community,” said Mosley.
Many victims of COVID-19 suffer from manageable chronic illnesses, but face significant barriers in controlling chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Addressing food insecurity, substandard housing and a lack of access to adequate behavioral health services are among the types of initiatives that Madubuonwu will spearhead.
“MLH understands the impact of social disparities on health and the role of collaborative efforts to bring equity to the underserved in our community,” said Madubuonwu. “This is the right time to increase our strategies to impact the well-being of our entire community. I am dedicated to this work and am thrilled to be part of this effort.”
Methodist Le Bonheur recognizes it plays a significant role in helping the community eliminate systemic racism in healthcare. This staffing decision is a step the health system is taking to further break down those social barriers.