LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

LSU Health’s Sugarman Chosen for National Health Equity Fellowship

Meredith K. Sugarman, MPH, Associate Director of the Louisiana Community Health Worker Institute in the Center for Healthcare Value and Equity at LSU Health New Orleans, has been selected as a Fellow in Families USA’s Health Equity Academy in System Transformation.

Families USA is a national, non-partisan organization “committed to achieving high-quality, affordable health care and improved health for all.” Their work is “centered around value, equity, coverage, and consumer experience.” With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Families USA launched the Health Equity Academy in System Transformation last year to ensure community representation and inclusion in policymaking processes. Leaders from across the country are selected as Fellows through a competitive process.

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The disparate impact of the COVID-19 on communities of color and people with disabilities is the focus of the second round of the Academy, which will provide an overall look at how health care systems are changing this year in response to the pandemic and to budget crises. It will concentrate on three central pieces of health care delivery systems identified as critical points where community voices are expressly needed, “particularly for populations served by Medicaid and Medicare -- measuring inequities and holding health care systems accountable for improvement; using a community-based workforce, including community health workers and doulas, in the wake of the pandemic; and enhancing supportive services to elders and people with disabilities to keep people safe and address their overall health."
Meredith K. Sugarman, MPH
Sugarman will participate in the training portion of the Academy at the end of July. She will also receive ongoing continuing education on critical health equity issues and enjoy continued structured engagement with other Fellows from across the country.

Sugarman’s work includes providing technical assistance on community health worker (CHW) program development, financing, policy development and evaluation to state health agencies, community-based organizations, and health systems. She also conducts community-partnered research related to CHW workforce development in Louisiana and nationally.

Previously, she worked with community and academic stakeholders to develop and implement community-partnered participatory research projects to address health disparities in New Orleans. Through partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, she led the initial development of a public-facing, policy-focused database as a resource for state health departments, researchers, and CHW organizations.

Sugarman is a person with a disability and has a passion for serving the community. She is a founding Steering Committee member for Community Care Corps, a $20 million-dollar initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Community Living that centers on innovative approaches to keeping people with disabilities and seniors safe and supported in the community.

“I am excited for the opportunity to continue serving the community at large and within LSU Health New Orleans through this timely and unique fellowship,” Sugarman says.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (LSU Health New Orleans) educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's health sciences university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with branch campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous annual economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment or cure disease. To learn more, visit,, or