Meet the Winners of the 2018 RWJF Award for Health Equity

Meet the Winners of the 2018 RWJF Award for Health Equity


(soft, inspirational music) The RWJF Award for Health Equity Program is a seven-year program initiated in 2015. The Award Program recognizes
and celebrates individuals who have successfully
implemented systems changes to reduce health disparities. Nine organizations have been selected to administer the program. Each of the grantee organizations shares our vision for building
a Culture of Health and achieving health equity in the nation. The winners are dedicated,
amazing individuals who are pioneering game
changers in the work that they do to develop
and implement solutions for achieving health equity. Our award winner stories
share several themes. Community engagement. Partnerships. Risk taking. And thinking outside the box. (upbeat music) So much of our programs are really, once again, sit at the intersection of mental health and social justice. It’s something we call healing justice. And healing justice says
that you cannot talk about mental health without
talking about racism. You cannot talk about it
without talking about misogyny. You cannot talk about it
with transphobia, homophobia. All those things need to
be in the conversation. The unique ways in which
different people experience psychological distress
or experience the stress of the broader culture, are
influenced by their gender, their race, their class,
identity, those pieces. And so, when we talk
about equity in context of a mental health and
healing justice work that’s going on in this country,
we have to let clinicians, healers, folks know that, that needs to be part of the conversation. I think cultural determinants
of health perhaps at least some of our research
indicates could be even broader than the social determinants of health. Culture still jumps out as a greater predictor of health outcomes, more than the social
determinants of health issues. A lot more research needs to
be conducted in these areas. But I think we shouldn’t necessarily think of one or another, but rather thinking about this concept as social and culture
determinants of health much more comprehensively. My take on health equity
for my Crow people is that for them to have the opportunity to gain awareness, because
awareness is powerful. Like when a Crow woman
just realized that she can go in and have a Pap test and not end up with cervical cancer, that was powerful. Just a little bit of basic
knowledge from someone that they know and that they
feel that cares about them. They went in and had the Pap test. In a rural setting in a rural county, a lot of seniors don’t have
access to the resources that maybe other seniors
do, of more means. And so, this program was very
specific to those 100 seniors and over a one-year time span, what we uncovered was we
were able to not only impact the re-hospitalization rate,
we decreased it by 57%, but also, a 15% decline
in the total spend. So, the total Medicare dollar that was getting spent, decreased by 15%. And their overall health
care status improved. West Virginia Health Right’s
Mobile Dental Program and Mobile Harm Reduction
Program have taught me and our entire community that
change is sometimes necessary. That you can’t always do it the same way that you’ve always done it. That sometimes you need to look at things new, different, unique. You know, we’re all creatures of habit. But looking at this, it’s made people be more innovative and look at
different ways to serve people, different ways to meet need. You can’t always be egocentric, you know, set up a clinic and
come to me, come to me. You have to think about
going where the need is. As a change agent, I don’t
always ask permission. I sometimes don’t even ask for opinions. I just keep knocking on
doors until someone answers. I don’t stay local. I knock on national doors. I don’t stay within the
confines of housing. I knock on education
doors or health doors. I partner and I look for the connections with my colleagues and when
they see the connection between their work and
my work and we go in as a combined voice, all of a sudden, we are now louder and
more effective together. We use housing as an anchor
but it changed so many things, as an economic development
opportunity for residents in the community who are entrepreneurs. It changed the image of
people that the people had. You know, we no longer had 11 lots of blighted land in our community. We had transformed with $13
million of investment to lend. We had created a marketplace
that is an amazing marketplace where people gather on a weekly basis just to connect with one another. And so, we really changed the perception, we really changed the neighborhood, the actual grid of the neighborhood. We also, importantly,
were able to celebrate, celebrate our culture,
celebrate our community as a place that you wanna come and visit. So, truly, transportation
is a pathway to health and not just a metaphor, but it is. If we want people to be able
to live a healthy lifestyle, they have to be able to
move around a community in a safe and reliable way. And that means they need
to be able to get to a job, they need to be able to get
to medical appointments, to preventative services,
to access the healthy foods, to their children’s schools, to be able to support their family. So, we really think about how
people move in our community, and especially not always thinking of the automobile being the first option. Our traditions are
related to health equity because they address the
trauma in the spirit. A lot of Western methods
only address the physical and sometimes therapy
doesn’t really work for us. We have to have a different method to address the spiritual
aspect of our trauma. Some of the girls have
their own personal traumas as well as the trauma of their parents and their grandparents,
whether it be sexual abuse, physical abuse, as well as our tribe’s. We’ve had a long, hard history. And sometimes that history can’t be addressed by Western methods. (soft music)

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