For change to have impact, it typically starts at the root. In public health, it begins with colleagues sharing thoughts and ideas to develop solutions or essential workers identifying tools and methods to make surrounding conditions safe for the communities. All these moments have two things in common: One, partnership, and two, inclusivity.
This year in Washington, D.C., we (the National Network of Public Health Institutes) made the decision to bring the only national meeting that supports and highlights the work of the nation’s public health institutes back to the nation’s capital. This year’s Annual Conference (NNPHIAC23) was an opportunity to come together in-person for a second time following the impact of the pandemic and take a more intentional effort to infuse health equity. Bridging Partners to Advance Health Equity reflects our commitment to bringing together partners to develop policy and program interventions that strive to eliminate racism, promote healing, and achieve health equity to protect and improve the health of all people.
Through our plenary sessions and signature events that focus on equity, conference attendees were able to witness and be a part of thought-provoking dialogue that explored how we can mobilize to challenge and dismantle barriers through efforts of raising awareness, uplifting spirits and drive, and leaving with tangible tactics that aid advancing health equity.
The NNPHI Annual Conference is one of the only times a year that we can connect with all our members at the same time! NNPHI Members are doing amazing work in health equity and the 2023 annual conference was a wonderful opportunity for them to highlight that work. A few examples: The Michigan Public Health Institute presented a workshop on how to Equip the Public Health Workforce: From Health Equity Concept to Practical Application, Health Resources in Action discussed how to Advance Community Engagement and Health Equity for State and Local Health Departments; and Reframing Social Determinants of Health for Tribal Public Health Practice was shared by Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health.
Health equity is an issue of importance for just not now but the future & beyond, as overlooked communities with gaps in access to care can worsen their health outcomes, leading and contributing to the growth of national health emergencies that reshape the world. The COVID-19 pandemic was an example that changed the very world we live in, impacting so many realities in the form of a domino effect.
On the cusp of health equity, structural racism has impacted health outcomes and opportunities for generations to come. It is imperative for state and local health departments to understand their role in combating racial injustice to best provide essential public health services to the communities they serve. During the Annual Conference, NNPHI alongside leaders of public health training centers (PHTCs) facilitated a workshop regarding applying the Racial Justice Competency Model (RJCM) to the public health workforce. The RJCM has been downloaded over 1500 times from public health practitioners hoping to gain insight on how to integrate health and racial equity into their organization’s structure and initiatives.
The National Coordinating Center for Public Health Training (NCCPHT)’s Indigenous Public Health Leadership Program (IPHL) team co-hosted a session entitled, “Fostering Tribal and Non-Tribal Allyship to Strengthen Tribal Public Health via a Leadership Program.” This session focused on relationship building between Tribal & non-Tribal organizations. These sessions were a pivotal part of our annual conference, as they embody our theme of “Bridging Partners to Advance Health Equity”.
As we look ahead to the rest of 2023 and beyond, public health workforce participation in is more critical than ever. From educators to crisis workers, to community heroes, NNPHI is driven strengthen the bonds of partnerships and increase the rooms we are in to be certain of inclusivity by any means. We are proud to have fostered a space where public health professionals can convene and discuss pressing issues and wins within the public health workforce.
Thank you for joining us and we look forward to seeing you in New Orleans, May 21 – 23, 2024!