Sky Wilson, Manager of Equity Initiatives, accepted a new job and his last day with SWACH was May 1st. Sky joined our team in 2019 and lead efforts to support SWACH’s equity work, and the equity work of our community and clinical partners, including the development and facilitation of the Equity Collaborative. Sky’s expertise and passion was instrumental in moving this work forward. Sky is greatly missed and we wish him all the best in his new endeavors.
During COVID-19, SWACH has continued to hold regular scheduled monthly sessions for its Equity Collaborative participants. These sessions were moved to a virtual platform and were optional for participants.
Equity Collaborative virtual meetings have been used as a place for shared learning and reflection, with a focus on how organizations are adapting operations due to COVID-19 in order to support staff and the community.
The pandemic and recent civil unrest has provided opportunities and the momentum for organizations to move their equity work forward. SWACH is committed to supporting participating organizations in this work and have extended the Equity Collaborative an additional three months. Virtual meetings will take place through March 2021.
Building on Shared Language
Initiated just over a year ago in July 2019, the cohort-based Equity Collaborative began by creating a shared language around the definition of health equity:
Health equity means that all people have access to a healthy environment, community, and relationship with local institutions and service providers.
Additionally, focusing on race provides an opportunity to develop a transferable lens that allows us to reveal historical—structural and systemic—inequities.
Institutional & Structural Change begins with Assessment
The aim of the Equity Collaborative is to create both institutional and structural change. This means improving access to care and services for populations negatively affected by the current system, AND by improving relationships among these populations and the institutions and organizations that serve them.
The purpose of the equity assessment is to engage staff, including executive leadership, to review organizational practices through an equity lens to help determine areas to improve. Equity Collaborative participants discussed barriers and challenges to completing the assessment, but also shared successes – overall there is tremendous support for the assessments, and the equity plans which come next.
By the end of 2019, all participating partner organizations had completed an equity assessment and have committed to continuing participation in the collaborative in 2020 and with the extension, they have the option to participate through March 2021. Participants used their assessment results to inform their equity aim statement and are in various stages of creating, adapting or advancing their workplans to achieve their aim(s).
To learn more about the efforts of the Equity Collaborative, contact Kim Lepin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.