Location: Hilton Denver City Center
1701 California Street, Denver, CO 80202
Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 9:45am – 11:00am Workshop Block 1
Room: Penrose 1
Sarah McAfee, Director of Communications, at the Center for Health Progress, has extensive experience in both the non-profit and for-profit health care sectors, focusing her work on increasing awareness of the complex challenges Colorado faces in building an equitable, affordable, high quality health care system, and our opportunities to work together to solve them. She leads our communications work with boundless creativity and ambition, from designing infographics to directing media relations and everything in between. Known for being able to do a lot with a little, she excels at turning chaos into order and making the boring, beautiful. Sarah believes in the power of storytelling to change hearts and minds, and aims to lift up the voices and stories of Coloradans who face the greatest challenges accessing health care and living healthy lives. Originally from Alaska, Sarah earned a bachelor’s in anthropology and a master’s in public administration from Arizona State University, and then settled on Colorado as a happy medium, temperature-wise. She has been a part of the Center for Health Progress team for seven years.
Chris Lyttle, Public Policy Manager at the Center for Health Progress. Chris is committed to advocating for a health system that is equitable and responsive to the needs of all communities. He uses research and strategic reasoning to support our community organizers in creating and implementing pathways to achieve systems-level change for campaigns and issues identified by the Coloradans we work alongside. A former legislative aide and field organizer, he has seen firsthand the positive impact of empowering community members who feel they have previously been left out and left behind. An Ohio transplant, Chris holds a bachelor’s in political science and history from Miami University (Oxford), and a juris doctor from Capital University Law School.
The United States’ long history of oppressive policies and practices has led to significant and persistent health inequities, or preventable difference in health outcomes across certain groups across the nation. A person’s race or ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion should not determine a person’s health outcomes or life expectancy. Eliminating these disparities and achieving health equity will require health care interventions to shift upstream, from addressing individual health behaviors to confronting and dismantling social and institutional inequities.
As professionals with influence over policies and practices (whether we do organizing, government work, or academia, it is essential that we deepen our understanding of the root causes of preventable health disparities, including institutional racism and structural oppression. Knowledge and skills around this issue inform the work of academia, organizing, and government work that directly affect the policies and practices that influence equity; the services and people who develop and implement them are part of institutions that play a key role in perpetuating and/or dismantling inequities.
The purpose of this skill-building session is to first build a collective awareness of social and institutional inequities and then spend time becoming more comfortable and building capacity to have these conversations that are essential in our work toward eliminating preventable health disparities. To do this, we will explore our shared history and reflect on our own lived experiences in the context of, Waiting for Health Equity, a graphic novel written by Center for Health Progress that centers on diverse Coloradans’ lived experiences. We will then brainstorm how we as professional can continue to learn and act to dismantle structural inequities in our work and institutions.