223760 Working Towards Health Equity: The Boston Public Health Commission's Anti-Racism Advisory Committee

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Rebekah Gowler, MSW, MPH , Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Cynthia Silva Parker , Interaction Institute for Social Change, Cambridge, MA
Meghan Patterson, MPH , Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Janine Anzalota, MSW, LICSW, MPH , Coordinated Social Support and Training, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Steven R. Machlin, MS , Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has made the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in health a top priority. We know through our work in this area that racism and discrimination are root causes of disparities in health. BPHC is committed to looking at its own internal policies, structures, and procedures to work towards health equity. In the fall 2007, a participatory process for feedback from BPHC staff was initiated to gather recommendations and suggestions on convening an internal anti-racism advisory committee. This committee was formed in March 2008 to help review, assess, and develop internal agency recommendations for BPHC in a thoughtful and inclusive process. We will highlight the strategies, challenges and lessons learned through our process to work towards health equity and becoming an anti-racist organization. The Boston Public Health Commission hopes to illustrate how an internal, cross-functional advisory committee can be used as a strategy for agencies to move towards becoming an anti-racist organization. We also will discuss the role of our Senior Leadership Team in sponsoring and partnering with such an advisory committee. The strategies and practical approaches used in implementing an internal process to evaluate agency policies and procedures will be valuable to other local health departments aiming to set up a similar work plan. Armed with strategies for creating an internal structure, a collaborative planning framework, and examples of the kinds of discussion and planning involved, health departments will be better suited to institutionalize anti-racism work as a necessary step towards health equity.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
List opportunities to develop an anti racist organization via dialogue, work force development and collaborative planning efforts. Analyze the role of the Anti Racism Advisory committee in designing organization-wide processes that address agency policies and practices that inadvertently affect people of color. Discuss the value of an organizational change framework for institutionalizing anti-racism Define the elements of Interaction Institute for Social Change’s (IISC) collaborative organizational change framework and role in this process Demonstrate how collaborative approaches to anti-racism and health equity both benefit from and foster deeper collaboration throughout an organization

Keywords: Health Disparities, Public Health Administration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am employed by the Center for Health Equity and Social Justice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.