By: Louise Square
Project Lead, Moving to Institutional Equity: A Tool to Address Racial Equity for Public Health Practitioners
Last week, NACDD’s Health Equity Council launched “Moving to Institutional Equity: A Tool to Address Racial Equity for Public Health Practitioners.” In public health, institutional racism creates many problems for minorities that contribute to health disparities and inequities. Our new tool has been designed to tackle institutional racism by identifying policies that have resulted in negative outcomes for minorities.
Institutional racism can be subtle and difficult to identify because it often has the benefit of being a policy or procedure that is long practiced. However, we must start conversations about racial equity in our communities of practice if we are ever to identify and address the root causes of health disparities in our nation.
NACDD created the “Moving to Institutional Equity” tool to help users recognize institutional racism by moving through a series of worksheets that give step-by-step directions to identify potentially racist policies and/or procedures and then to explore opportunities to change the outcomes.
Primarily through our HEC, NACDD has worked to speak to many difficult issues in an ongoing effort to achieve health equity and to improve health outcomes. Our initiatives aim to move systematically through the factors known as social determinants of health and provide resources to address them. Some of our work includes community action guides to address high school dropout rates, neighborhood segregation, and food deserts.
NACDD believes that, if regularly implemented, the “Moving to Institutional Equity” tool will help create a culture that recognizes equity as a core value of the workplace. State health departments can be role models in this effort by having our organizations reflect the communities we serve and by working to improve population health and advance health equity.
I would like to issue a special thanks to the HEC members for their hard work and dedication on this publication: Gail Brandt, Washington State Department of Health; Cheryl Farmer, Washington State Department of Health; Janet Kiley, formerly of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, Kentucky Department of Public Health; Marisa New, Oklahoma State Department of Health; Holly Nickel, formerly of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Robyn Taylor, Ohio Department of Health; Steven Owens, NACDD consultant; and Tiffany Pertillar, NACDD consultant.
This group of very dedicated public health practitioners comes from different races, and backgrounds. As we crafted this tool together, we found that we benefited from each other’s passion, experience, and knowledge.
From that process, we learned that we will be most successful in our efforts to improve equity if we begin within our own departments and areas of influence. The “Moving to Institutional Equity” tool is designed to guide us on that journey. The Health Equity Council plans to implement a pilot for the tool this summer. Please be on the lookout for more information soon. If you have questions, the Health Equity Council is here to help. You can contact Gail Brandt or myself. We look forward to working with you.