Online Program

Achieving health equity through “undoing racism”: The case of the Florida health equity commission

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 11:02 a.m. - 11:18 a.m.

Deborah Austin, PhD, REACHUP, Inc., Tampa, FL
Issues: In 2009, the Florida Department of Health proposed budgetary cuts to the Closing the Gap in Infant Mortality Program and programmatic changes to the Office of Minority Health that would have threatened state and local efforts to achieve health equity. Description: Representatives from the Black Infant Health Practice Initiative, a statewide Initiative addressing infant mortality disparity, and other statewide organizations addressing health disparities, coalesced to voice strong opposition to these actions. Once the proposed actions were rejected, the group decided to become more formalized and extend its reach to other community and faith organizations. Thus, the Florida Health Equity Commission (FHEC) was created to galvanize those interested in health equity, with a special emphasis on addressing the impact of racism on Floridians' health. Primary strategies include conducting Undoing Racism Community Organizing Workshops (URWs) and encouraging advocacy and education to build support for health equity and social justice in each FHEC Community. Lessons Learned: The URWs exposed ignorance and misunderstanding regarding the structures and systems that perpetuate the racism underlying health disparities and social inequality and clarified the need for community strategies to promote greater understanding of the historical context of racism in the United States and how and why it is maintained. Recommendations: FHEC must create strategies to facilitate productive public discussion on issues relating to race, making more effective use of advocacy, community organizing, media, and research to develop policy, foster leadership, and develop communications tools to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement for health equity and social justice.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Analyze the potential effectiveness of a community collaborative on the development of focused community solutions to eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity Articulate the strength of community engagement and mobilization processes in developing and implementing community-based strategies to address the impact of racism on health Describe the steps utilized to move from problem to solution in efforts to encourage and inspire communities to value all persons equally and view good health as essential to the well-being of that community

Keyword(s): Health Disparities, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the founders of the Florida Health Equity Commission and served as host and primary planner for the Undoing Racism Community Oragnizing Workshop.
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.