About The Multicultural Health Institute (MHI)
MHI was created to level the healthcare playing field by promoting, educating and ensuring equal healthcare access and treatment for underserved communities and individuals who are traditionally uninsured and receive a less than adequate quality of care.
The Mission and History of MHI
MHI was created to level the healthcare playing field by promoting, educating, and ensuring equal healthcare access and treatment for underserved communities and individuals who are traditionally uninsured and receive a less than adequate quality of care.
Founded in 1995 by Lisa Merritt, MD, MHI focuses on health disparities, their effect on our nation's citizens and the positive economic impact of health education, nutrition, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The essence of MHI's work embodies principles of service, empowerment, and collective community effort.
As a non-profit 501(3) organization, MHI provides a holistic, full circle life approach to healing and wellness by focusing on the participation, education, and training of adults as well as offering hands-on enrichment experiences to aspiring and promising young people in the community.
Recognitions and Awards
2020 | MLK Day of Service
2019 | AAPM&R Distinguished Public Service Award
2019 | MLK Celebration Honor for Outstanding Community Service
2019 | Honored by BEST (Brain Expansion Scholastic Training)
2016 | National Medical Association Health Policy Colloquium Award
2016 | BIZ 941 Unity Alumni Award Outstanding Community Service
2015 | Sarasota NAACP Freedom Award
2014 | National Medical Association Council on Concerns of Women Physicians Women in Medicine Award
2013 | Payne Chapel Men and Women of Excellence Health and Wellness Awardee
2012 | MLK Celebration Honor for Outstanding Community Service
2012 | BIZ941 Unity Award Medical Category
2008 | Sarasota Links Community Recognition Award
2007 | Genesis Health Services Community Service Recognition Award
2003 | Fulton County REACH for Wellness Campaign appreciation Award for Outstanding Dedication to the Community
2003 | Selected for Guide to America’s Top Physicians Consumers’ Research Council Washington D.C.
1999 | AMA Physician’s Recognition Award
1997 | Outstanding Woman Award Health Services YWCA Sacramento California
1995 | Outstanding Physician of the Year, Hillhaven Fair Oaks Healthcare Center, Carmichael California
1988 | Outstanding Young Achiever of Houston, Houston Chamber of Commerce
Meet the 2016 Unity Award Winners
January 2016 issue of 941CEO
By Susan Burns and Anu Varma 1/11/2016
Dr. Lisa Merritt, Alumni Winner As a physiatrist, 2012 Unity Award winner Dr. Lisa Merritt has been devoted to improving the health of her patients.
But for the last 25 years, in addition to her private practice, being a devoted mom to her now teen-age daughter and a caregiver to her parents, Merritt somehow has found the time to dedicate herself to leveling the health care playing field for the community.
As the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Multicultural Health Institute, she has used a grassroots approach to work with dozens of local organizations—the Center for Building Hope, HIV/AIDS Network of Southwest Florida (HANS), Genesis Health Services, Gulf Coast Medical Society, Jewish Family & Children’s Services to name a few—to eliminate the chronic and mostly preventable conditions of the uninsured and underserved. Her efforts have touched the lives of more than 25,000 Sarasotans, giving them the resources, support and knowledge to make smarter lifestyle choices.
Merritt sometimes seems to be everywhere—teaching at New College of Florida, creating a local scholarship program in elementary schools through colleges to create health care leaders, initiating a senior wellness program and conducting cancer survivor and caregiver groups. Her patients, students and healing circle participants have learned about cooking and nutrition, stress management, cardiovascular health, dementia prevention and caregiving. Her recent awards include the national 2014 Council on the Concerns of Women Physicians Award and the Sarasota County 2015 NAACP Freedom Award.
And now, Merritt is taking her advocacy and holistic approach to wellness to Manatee Rural Health Services as director of care coordination for special populations. “I can impact thousands of people’s lives and help design models for future health care delivery,” she says. “I love this work.”
Dr. Merritt has been awarded the 2014 National Medical Association Council on Concerns of Women Physicians (CCWP) –Women in Medicine Award
"Congratulations on your nomination and award of the 2014 National Medical Association Council on Concerns of Women Physicians (CCWP) –Women in Medicine Award. This award is given to a woman in medicine for outstanding or exemplary service in the field of medicine. At the Annual Muriel Petioni, MD Awards Luncheon at the NMA National Convention, we honor female physicians, who through research, community service and activism, strive to eliminate health care disparities and provide people of color with quality health care."
MHI has been recognized by the COBB Institute, WEDU, The Florida Coalition of Healthy Start Coalitions, the Links, various local media, and is the recipient of the Genesis Health Services Community Service Award.
While MHI focuses on health inequalities directly affecting our nation's people of color, its activities, information, and programs are beneficial to all ethnicities across racial, cultural and economic groups.
2012 - Biz941 Unity Award medical category
2012 - Newtown MLK commerative committee Community Service Award
The Unity Awards, presented by Biz(941) and La Guia magazines, honor people and businesses in Sarasota and Manatee counties that embrace ethnic and racial diversity. Award categories are: Entrepreneur, Medical, Small Business, Large Company, Education and Nonprofit.