Join the Heartland Regional Health Equity Council

This year’s application period has closed – please check back

The National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) was established to mobilize a nationwide, comprehensive, community-driven and sustained approach to combat health disparities in order to move the nation toward achieving health equity.  Regional Health Equity Councils (RHECs) were formed within the 10 federal regions to bring together leaders and stakeholders committed to improving health equity and addressing health disparities.

The Region VII RHEC (Heartland RHEC) plays a critical role in coordinating and enhancing state and local efforts to address health disparities and the social determinants of health at the regional level.  Region VII encompasses the following states:  Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.  More information about the Council can be found at:


  • The Heartland RHEC is seeking energetic and proactive members whose work and expertise falls under specific sectors such as:

  • Health professions such as community health, public health, and allied health

  • Private/for-profit organizations such as labor unions, businesses, and chambers of commerce

  • Community-based and faith-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies

  • Educational institutions such as colleges and universities

  • Local government and civic organizations

  • Youth (graduates and undergraduates with public health interest)

  • Healthcare systems and medical associations

  • Media and communications such as radio, newspaper, television and social media outlets


The Heartland RHEC is one of 10 regional councils formed in 2011 as a part of the NPA, which is the first national multi-sector community and partnership-driven effort on behalf of health equity and was spearheaded by the federal Office of Minority Health (OMH).  While affiliated with OMH in terms of aligning strategies and receiving technical assistance, RHEC VII and the other regional councils are independent entities separate from OMH and the federal government.

The Heartland RHEC is a volunteer, not-for-profit association of 25 members that brings together leaders from diverse backgrounds including healthcare providers, healthcare-focused organizations, academia, public health agencies, economic development, faith-based organizations, grassroots organizations, other nonprofit organizations and the business sector to reinforce the need for multi-sector linkages as a key strategy for ending health disparities in America.

Vision and mission:  The vision of the Heartland RHEC is a nation free of disparities in health and health care.  Our mission is to be effective agents of change to eliminate health disparities and achieve the highest possible level of health for all communities through the education and mobilization of leaders, partners, policy makers and community stakeholders in Region VII

Priority Areas for 2016-2018 by Committee:  The Heartland RHEC identified and established committees and/or workgroups to develop objectives, strategies and activities to address the following priorities areas: Health Equity, Partnerships, Data Development and Membership Development.

Heartland RHEC Membership:  Membership positions are individual and are not linked to specific organizations.  Each volunteer member serves for a term of three (3) years and for no more than two (2) consecutive terms.  After reaching the term limit, a member may reapply for membership after a one (1)-year hiatus from service.  Towards accomplishing the goals and objectives of RHEC VII, each member is expected to attend at least 3 out of 4 Council meetings each year (three via conference call and one in person; currently, travel expenses are provided by the federal Office of Minority Health) and to actively participate on at least one of the Council’s committees, discussed above.

The responsibilities of the Council members, collectively, are to:

  • Provide leadership and expertise to drive a collaborative health equity agenda;

  • Use inclusive stakeholder input to refine priority strategies;

  • Support and collaborate on projects of mutual benefit;

  • Provide regional, inter-sectorial leadership and partnerships; and

  • Monitor and assess progress to ensure accountability and drive sustainability of Heartland RHEC efforts to eliminate health disparities.

How to Apply to Be a Heartland RHEC Member:

We are currently accepting applications from qualified individuals interested in becoming members of the Heartland RHEC from the four states in Region VII. Individuals interested in serving on the Council may submit an application online using the following link:

In addition to providing biographical information and answering a few questions on the online application form, applicants must upload a current curriculum vitae or résumé. Applications must be submitted by midnight Central Time on (October 9, 2017).

Selection of New Members:
Applications will be reviewed and considered based on the Council’s needs for filling member positions in the specific states, stakeholder groups and areas of expertise listed above. We anticipate receiving more applications than the number of open positions; therefore, if you are not selected for membership this year, we encourage you to reapply next year or in subsequent years as additional positions become open.

Selected applicants will be notified by October 13, 2017. New members will be expected to attend an online webinar orientation in October (date to be determined) and to attend the annual in-person Council meeting in November ( date to be determined) when their membership terms will begin.

Who to Contact for Questions or Further Information:

Heartland Regional Health Equity Council Co-Chairs

Sarena Dacus, MPH (Membership Co-Chair)
Executive Director, Maternal and Child Health
3501 Harry Langdon Blvd., Suite 150
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Telephone: 712-256-9566x204

Josie Rodriguez, MS (RHEC Co-Chair)
Administrator, Office of Health Disparities and Health Equity
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
301 Centennial Mall South – PO Box 95028
Lincoln, NE 68509
Telephone: (402) 471-1409


Gerrie Maccannon, MPA
Technical Assistant Liaison for RHEC VII
Atlas Research