226829 Dismantling Racism:A Journey to Health Equity

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Megan E. Bolejack, MPH , Community Health Promotion and Advocacy Division, Chatham County Public Health Department, Pittsboro, NC
Vanessa Farrar, MPH , Community Health Promotion and Advocacy, Chatham County Public Health Department, Pittsboro, NC
Kelly Evans, MPH , Community Health Promotion and Advocacy Division, Chatham County Public Health Department, Pittsboro, NC
The relationship between health inequalities and social inequality has been extensively researched and documented. This research shows us that health inequities are the result of social injustices, such as institutional racism. These injustices create an imbalance of power, which perpetuates health inequities. In 2001, the Chatham County Public Health Department initiated an innovative project to address the Healthy People 2010 goal to eliminate health disparities. The public health department began the Dismantling Racism Process. The goal of the process is to address institutional racism in efforts to reduce health disparities and inequities through social justice. This long-term and involves assessing the organization, determining what stage of development an organization is in becoming anti-racist, and developing a plan for change. Due to the Dismantling Racism Process, new policies aimed at creating social justice within the public health department have been created. For example, the Dismantling Racism Workshop is required for all new employees. All public health department staff are required to receive annual cultural competency and customer service training. Cultural competency questions are now included on health department customer surveys and interview questionnaires. Despite our successes there have also been challenges to the Dismantling Racism Process. These include resistance from staff, rumors about the process, and general misunderstanding of the process and the goals. The Dismantling Racism Process is an innovative way to address social injustices that can lead to organizational change and policy adoption. However, it is important to have individuals in leadership positions that support the process.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain how policy changes in local governmental organizations help to create health equity. Describe how the Dismantling Racism Process can lead to health policy changes in local governmental organizations. Define and describe the Dismantling Racism Process. Identify the steps for introducing the Dismantling Racism Process.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Organizational Change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am facilitator of the process.
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.