A Message from the Founding President and CEO

Dr. Betty Perez-RiveraA Call to Action

The Institute of Education for the Care of Chronic Diseases (IECCD) is committed to providing multi-disciplinary professionals with innovative best practice strategies to develop and implement programs that successfully address the needs of diverse individuals and communities. This is an effort to ensure equitable, culturally sensitive, accessible, and cost-effective health care services for all. It is an opportunity to stand up and be counted; to fight against complacency; to fight against social injustice; and to assure that all Americans have the same rights for services.

For too long, professionals from different disciplines have worked in silos, totally isolated from each other and most importantly also disconnected from the people they are meant to serve. Experts have often concentrated on only treating parts of the individual rather than focusing on the patient as a whole. Policymakers have focused on a business model with little or no regard for direct services and adequate implementation of programs. Programmatic viability has been focused on numbers rather than outcomes and services. Communication has been continuously one-sided instead of a steady stream of information with relevant dialogue. It is time to optimize the delivery of value-based healthcare services and to establish strategies that focus on patient and family-centered approaches to care.

Approximately 117 million adults (49%) in the United States have one or more chronic diseases such as heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis (Ward, Schiller, & Goodman, 2012). It is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States (CDC, 2013). IECCD proposes a Call to Action to explore healthcare systems, expand hands-on professional training opportunities and educational tools, and empower professionals to engage patients using the Participatory Healthcare Model. This model engages professionals, patients, family members, and caregivers, helping to reduce medical errors, increase patient safety, and improve patient experiences and satisfaction. This model proposes the formation of partnerships to reduce ineffective duplication of services to optimize and maximize services for improved quality of care.

Systemic changes do not necessarily mean failure; they mean an adaptation to ideas, policies, and programs that accurately reflect the needs of the people. The national mandate is to eliminate health disparities but this mandate cannot lead to social justice and health equity without a restructuring of the very systems that have been created as the solution to this pervasive problem. IECCD was formed to help address these challenges.

IECCD promotes multi-disciplinary approaches to care, involving administrators and senior managers from diverse healthcare systems, legislators, advisory groups, regulatory agencies, community-based organizations, gatekeepers, and the community at large. This enables placement of the patient and family/caregiver at the core of all healthcare services. Integration of patient education into contemporary healthcare practices will also aid in bridging the gap for clinicians and for patients and their families. IECCD will prepare the next generation of healthcare and health education professionals with Health Literacy and Communications Institutes, special topic professional development trainings, clinical and professional textbook publications, and the development of curricula and professional resources.

IECCD encourages thinking outside of the box, voicing opinions to promote actions, the development of coalitions and committees to maximize capabilities, and the expansion of health education to provide community resources and sustainable skills. This will empower individuals to carry on once financial or programmatic constraints force the closure of community initiatives. One of IECCD’s main goals is to bring the discourse beyond established norms, challenging conventions and establishing “Best Practices Redefined.”

Stand up and be counted!!


Dr. Betty Perez-Rivera