SWACH’s Equity Journey
Even as SWACH works toward equity in our communities, we also remain committed to continuing the work in our workplace. Gratefully, we build on the efforts of the Healthy Living Collaborative (now part of SWACH), and the many contributions and work of our former Equity Manager Sky Wilson.
In sharing our journey, we invite others to consider their own views as well. With work, we can make our community and workplaces more inclusive for everyone.
Every organization has its unique challenges, but we can all learn from each other.
Our Continued Commitment
SWACH made a public commitment to stand against racism earlier this summer. We continue to work toward an environment that supports honest and difficult conversations.
Shifting organizational culture and systems takes time, and many conversations. Creating an emotionally safe and fair workplace is an investment of energy, not an overnight shift.
Improving equity requires rethinking our systems and making culture changes. We feel obliged to lead by example if we are to improve and promote equity in our larger communities.
Thankfully, we are not traveling alone in our journey. We are able to share, learn, and collaborate with partners from across our communities. Together, we are making progress toward more equitable workplaces and healthy communities for all.
Building our Capacity: JEDIS at SWACH
Our efforts toward the equitable workplace and community continue, even when the familiar faces change.
In July, SWACH formed an internal Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Squad (JEDIS). Members of this squad include Kim Lepin, Dominique Horn, Brette Greenwood-Wing, Jim Jensen, and Diana Avalos-Leos. With Diana’s departure, Jason Burton will be joining the JEDIS.
The purpose of the JEDIS is to guide SWACH’s continued growth towards realizing our mission, health equity, and equity as a team value. The JEDIS offer strategic advice to SWACH leadership based on best practices.
The JEDIS bring an equity lens to SWACH’s internal operations and external activities. The goal is to help identify opportunities for growth and improvement.
Finally, the JEDIS began an all-staff book club in August, starting with How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi is a writer, TED presenter, and the Founding Director of Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.
Performing Our Self-Assessment
Originally launched by Wilson, SWACH continues to both facilitate and participate in the Equity Collaborative (August 2020 updates). As part of this cohort model, SWACH has continued to work on our internal Equity Assessment and is nearly complete.
The JEDIS are playing a key role in this assessment work. Findings will be used in the coming months to inform SWACH’s Equity Growth Plan and intend to integrate this into the larger strategic plan.
Growing Capacity & Learning Together
Like many organizations, SWACH also knows there is more learning (and unlearning) ahead. We’re happy to share our resources and would love to hear about your experiences and learning too.
Have a favorite resource to share with our broader SWACH community? Please email it to Kim.Lepin@southwestach.org, and we’ll share these as well.
- Organizational Assessment Tools and Resources
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement: “You Can’t Achieve True Health Equity Without Addressing Racism” – Part 1
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement: “You Can’t Achieve True Health Equity Without Addressing Racism” – Part 2
- “COVID-19 & Achieving Health Equity”, a September 2020 report shared by Senator Murray. This report outlines the roots of systemic racism and inequality in U.S. health care system, and lays out recommendations for congressional action.
Equity Collaborative Assessment Tools
Equity Collaborative members made use of the following assessment tools. Members used these both independently and in combination to better understand their organizations.
- Dancing on Live Embers
- Meyer Memorial Trust DEI Spectrum Tool
- Race Matters
- Coalition of Communities of Color
Have questions or interested in learning more? Contact contact Kim Lepin (email@example.com) for more details.