"Our health care system is ailing; the US spends a higher percentage of its per-capita GDP on health care than any other nation," said Dr. Heidi Behforouz at theClinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City on September 20. "And yet, some of our statistics rank with those of developing nations."

Dr. Behforouz, the executive director of PIH's Boston-based Prevention and Access to Care and Treatment (PACT) Project, presented a commitment to action at CGI that outlines a strategy for integrating community health workers (CHWs) into health systems across the United States.

 
 

PACT's Dr. Heidi Behforouz presenting at the 2011 Clinton Global Health Initiative Annual Meeting.

"Our greatest challenges include a health care financing system that encourages episodic disease-based care as opposed to prevention and wellness, reluctance of a hierarchical medical culture to accept CHWs, and the lack of an established focus on continuous quality improvement, accountability, and transparency," said Dr. Behforouz. "PACT seeks partners who can advocate for healthcare finance reform, lead organizational and cultural change within health care institutions, and create easily adaptable systems for maximizing value based health care — where all patients achieve good outcomes at lower cost."