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“We wanted to specifically call out disparities” in racial health, said Dr. Leana Wen, who became the city’s health commissioner early last year. “And we have a moonshot. Our moonshot is we want to cut health disparities by half in the next 10 years.”

Black Baltimore leaders praised Wen for putting disparities squarely in the conversation even as they acknowledged the difficulty of achieving the plan’s goals.

“It’s a big challenge. There’s no debating that,” said Diane Bell-McKoy, CEO of Associated Black Charities, a Maryland nonprofit. “She takes a step forward more so than anybody else I’ve seen because she calls it out. Most of the time we find code words for it. We don’t call it out.”

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Image: via Flickr – AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by Bob Jagendorf

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