When the Jefferson County Health Action Partnership was restructured in 2015 to reflect the most important health needs identified by the public, the need to pursue health equity in current and future work was at the top of the list of changes. Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances. The topic of health equity was at the center of the 2016 Health Action Summit, which included presentations from Shavon Arline-Bradley, Director of External Engagement at the Office of the United States Surgeon General, and Dr. Monica Baskin of the UAB School of Preventive Medicine and the Jefferson County Collaborative for Health Equity. Since the creation of the Advancing Health Equity priority group last year, team members have been working to develop a brief orientation that defines health equity, describes various health disparities across Jefferson County, and identifies resources for individuals and organizations to use as they work towards achieving health equity. The one-hour orientation also includes a time for facilitated discussion with participants. In July, more than 50 participants from dozens of organizations across the area participated in the first round of health equity orientation sessions at the United Way of Central Alabama. The health equity orientation and facilitators are now available for organizations interested in hosting a session. The priority group also created a website (healthequityal.org) that contains helpful resources, and is planning to roll out a more in-depth, multi-day training related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion later this year. The materials and training related to advancing health equity are also intended to guide the work of the other Health Action Partnership priority groups focusing on improving mental health, optimizing healthcare access, promoting healthy lifestyles, and improving the built environment, transportation and safety. All of these efforts are designed to support the work of the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama’s collaborative approach to ensuring all Central Alabama counties will be ranked in the top 10 for health outcomes in Alabama by 2025.
If you are interested in hosting the one-hour Health Equity Orientation or would like to learn more about the Advancing Health Equity Priority Group, please contact Ryan Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org ).