This post originally appeared on PolicyLink's Equity Blog.
For too long, our nation has attempted to improve health by focusing primarily on the health care system. To truly achieve health equity, where everyone—regardless of race, neighborhood, or financial status—has the opportunity for health, we must also consider the broader determinants of health, including community environment, education, employment, housing, income, and public safety.
That is why PolicyLink and FSG are thrilled to launch the Ambassadors for Health Equity Fellowship, a new initiative to connect innovative and inspiring leaders to mentorship, education, and opportunities for collaboration around advancing systemic solutions in health equity.
Over the course of a year, this cohort of 16 national leaders in the public, private, and social sectors will participate in 5 in-person meetings, a series of webinars, and ongoing online engagement that will empower them to share ideas and experiences, forge new alliances, generate new solutions, and promote health equity within their own work. Ambassadors will also apply the skills and connections gained through this fellowship to a specific project tied to their work as part of an ongoing commitment to foster practices in their own organizations that advance health equity.
This fellowship is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its Open Box initiative, which seeks to advance health equity by convening leaders from a variety of sectors to promote policies, practices, and systems that offer opportunities for everyone to pursue a healthier life. Building a Culture of Health means focusing on the grander whole of what being healthy and staying healthy means: ensuring students are ready to learn, workers are able to be productive, and families can thrive across every community.
By motivating leaders to work toward this common goal, the Open Box project and the Ambassadors for Health Equity Fellowship hope to shift thinking away from the view of inequity as an intractable problem and toward solutions that build health equity, especially within low-income communities and communities of color that face the greatest health disparities.
The Ambassadors for Health Equity Fellowship will run through June of 2017, and will feature the leaders listed below. For more information, check out the fellowship launch page.
James Bell—Founder & Executive Director, W. Haywood Burns Institute
Luzelma Canales—Executive Director, RGV Focus
Jeff Chang—Journalist, author, and music critic
Patrisse Cullors—Co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, criminal justice advocate
Shawn Dove—Chief Executive Officer, Campaign for Black Male Achievement
Denise Fairchild—President and Chief Executive Officer, Emerald Cities
Radhika Fox—Chief Executive Officer, US Water Alliance
Ana Garcia-Ashley—Executive Director, Gamaliel Network
Sarah Kastelic—Executive Director, National Indian Child Welfare Association
Otho Kerr—Partner, Encourage Capital
Maria Teresa Kumar—Founding President & Chief Executive Officer of Voto Latino
Steven McCullough—Chief Operating Officer, Communities in Schools, Inc.
Nela Richardson—Chief Economist, Redfin
Ty Boyea Robinson—Director of Collective Impact, Living Cities
Michael Skolnik—Business executive, entrepreneur, and film producer
Blair Taylor—CEO, MBK Alliance
Health Equity Experts:
Dolores Acevedo Garcia—Director, Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
Tony Iton—Senior Vice President, Healthy Communities, California Endowment
Mildred Thompson—Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place
Learn more about FSG's U.S. Health consulting practice and read our latest report on creating equity in U.S. health care, Breaking the Barriers to Specialty Care: Practical Ideas to Improve Health Equity and Reduce Cost >