Equality in health has come to the fore as a result of the COVID pandemic. People living in low-income communities have been hit hard by successive waves of COVID, catastrophic natural disasters and isolation trauma. The impact of the last two years will be generational if we do not work deliberately to meet the unique needs of each community. But working to make a difference is difficult, whether you work locally or locally. The speaker of the upcoming workshop “Equity in Action: Using a Diversified and Inclusive Framework for Systemic Change” believes that the first step is to share our experiences and learn from each other. This workshop will focus on health equity and facilitators hope to have a joint conversation about how we can face the future challenge together.
The facilitators of this workshop, Nomita Bajwa, Tyenise Blackmon and Stephanie Kellam, have worked together on various community health promotion projects for nearly a decade. During this time, they learned to work together and bring their unique perspective to each health event to improve participation and, more importantly, to promote positive change and enable the people they work with to improve the health of the community. Stephanie Kellam serves as Director of Wellness and Community Engagement at UnitedHealthcare and looks forward to continuing the Health Equality Interview. While Stephanie recognizes that health equity is essential at every stage of her life, youth work is of particular importance.
“Working directly with young people to help them lead a more active and healthier lifestyle is rewarding and worth it, because it is a time when life habits are developing. “However, changing behavior has been difficult and almost impossible if we focus only on the implementation of health promotion without taking into account the local context,” says Nomita Bajwa.
Nomita, who began her career 30 years ago as a clinical pharmacist, is now fully dedicated to community health as the founder of Wellness Geeks Consultants. Her heritage and upbringing in a small rural town taught her how context is important in promoting health. “In our partnerships, I appreciate that we can take on each event as a whole and incorporate our very different experience and knowledge base into each event.”
She went on to point out that the long-term commitment each of them made to their community is a great asset for more productive conversations when we come up with innovative ways to implement the health education that sticks to it. ” Bajwa worked primarily at the district level, Tyenise began her foray into community health as a parent educator. When she saw with her own eyes the impact of health on the children in her school, she launched one of the most comprehensive school and community health fairs in the low-income neighborhood. She now serves as Director of Community Involvement and Diversity, Justice and Inclusion for Healthy Children. Action for Healthy Kids is a national non-profit organization that is committed to providing funding, resources and programs to districts and schools to address health inequalities and disparities.
Tyenise offered: “I hope our session will give participants the opportunity to have meaningful conversations, learn practical best practices of engagement and provide further insight into the many benefits and opportunities that poorly served communities have.”
The facilitators thank the “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, UT System and It’s Time Texas” for the opportunity to present themselves at this event and look forward to meeting others in the community who share their passion for the job. Don’t forget to register for Equity in Action: Utilizing and a Diversified and Inclusive Framework for Systemic Change on October 29, 2021 at 11:00.
Who should attend? This workshop provides an opportunity to connect with other school district leaders, health professionals, SHAC members and community health advocates with an interest in developing approaches that take justice into account and want to improve community health. We encourage those who have experience to come and share their expertise with others who are just building their practice, as we learn different ways to improve the health of our respective communities.
What will be discussed? Our goal is to discuss the current working definition of health equity. As we go through each section, we will discuss what justice looks like in practice, discuss our common areas of interest, and provide a framework for building your assessment based on your practice. We will give an example of how we have been able to develop a flexible nutrition education strategy for a large Texas school district.
what will you take? The facilitators hope you will come up with some ideas for incorporating the local context into existing health promotion strategies and finding new partners in the ongoing challenge of improving the lives of all Texans.
This blog was written by: Nomita Bajwa, CEO and Founder, Wellness Geeks LLC