It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere. I can’t help but see almost everything I do in my advocacy through the lens of health equity. Whether it’s making decisions about our health and medical care, managing pain, young adults with complex medical issues transitioning from pediatric to adult medicine, men in caregiving, data sharing, patient access to data. Everywhere. I’m defining equity as people having the same opportunity to achieve best physical, mental and spiritual health no matter their social circumstances, biology, genetics, or physical environment. I wanted to take a look at bias, inclusion and equity from outside healthcare. So, I interviewed Ame Sanders and we talked about our own biases, inclusion or lack thereof in our communities, measuring bias, and taking action to reduce inequities.
Ame Sanders and I met at Seth Godin’s Podcasting Fellowship, 350 or so people from around the world learning to be podcasters. Ame caught my eye with her podcast, Equity Warriors, and her company www.stateofinclusion.com. See the show notes for further information. We decided to interview each other. You can hear Ame’s interview of me at the link above. Being a practical person, I look for what works and what we can learn from other people’s experiences. While Ame doesn’t work in the health care space, she has much to teach us about the state of inclusion in communities.
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I’m open to any definition of community and there are many different ways to define community. It can be social media. It can be the LGBTQ community. It can be people that you identify with. But for the work that I do, largely, the way I define community is either city or county. And I’ll give you a reason because my mission for my work is to work with communities to help them become more inclusive. I believe you can change the world one community at a time. and I work with a lot of data. There is a certain level of data that’s required to do this work. And it’s mostly available at the county level sometimes even not at the county level.
Measuring equity -race
It is a bit of a conundrum because in one hand you don’t want to ask people that question because it shouldn’t matter, right. We should be able to go through life and never be asked that because race is an artificial construct in any case. It’s not a factual thing. It’s an artificial construct and in some cases, as you pointed out, it’s how people perceive themselves and how they define themselves.
Knowing better and doing better
There’s a quote from Maya Angelou that says, ‘when you know better do better.’ So each of us, I think the most important thing in this work is that each of us own very responsibly. The need to know better and that includes knowing better about ourselves. And doing better.
Then I think that the next thing to work on is dialogue and trust. Because communities only change in this area if you can establish a basis of trust. And that’s really important. There’re probably organizations in every Community.
So, there are organizations out there. Perhaps one in your own community that will help you work through this dialogue and trust and that’s a good first place because without trust none of this is going to- it’s not going to happen., you know, you can’t change and you can’t accept members of your community if you don’t trust one another so those are going to you know important steps.
Make a change
I think that the awareness of a community and the people that live in the community is the first step. It’s just like anything else that you want to change. If you’re not aware of it as an issue and if you don’t own it as an issue, then you’re not going to change it. And I think that’s one of the barriers here. Communities either they don’t want to talk about it at all. I tell people that people don’t want to pay me for me to tell them things they don’t want to know.
A negative space
it’s a very negative and it’s very discouraging. You need to look at it. You don’t want to step away from it, but people over and over again, as I’ve shared in reports with them and information with them. They’re like, yeah, but. You know, what do we do? And how do we address this? And this is so this is awful. And so the podcast for me offers an opportunity to talk with people like yourself and others who are who are working on this every day and who are making progress
Music by permission from Joey van Leeuwen, New Orleans Drummer, Composer
About the Show
Welcome to Health Hats, empowering people as they travel together toward best health. I am Danny van Leeuwen, a two-legged, old, white man with privilege, living in a food oasis, who can afford many hats, and knows a little about a lot of healthcare and a lot about very little. Most people wear hats one at a time, but I wear them all at once. We will listen and learn about what it takes to adjust to life’s realities in healthcare’s Tower of Babel. Let’s make some sense of all this.
My guests and I reflect on what works for people, professionals, and communities in their journeys toward best health: learning, making choices, communicating, and adjusting to realities. Our topics range from personal, clinical, technical, entrepreneurial, organizational, to whatever interests me at the moment. Join the ride!
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