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CommonHealth ACTION is a national public health organization aligning people, strategies, and resources to create solutions to health and policy challenges.

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  • 08/27/15--08:36: Mississippi Children Thrive
  • Mississippi Children Thrive
    As part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's commitment to improve conditions for children living in Mississippi, CommonHealth ACTION was awarded a two-year grant to design and provide technical assistance to grantees working in and serving Mississippi residents. The overarching goal of this initiative is to strengthen organizational capacity of grantees so they can improve the health and well-being of children, increase the security and viability of families living in poverty, and promote racial healing efforts in the state.

    CommonHealth ACTION believes that improving the health and well-being of all people and not just of some residents requires collective action that promotes social justice and racial equity, equitable access to economic opportunity, and meaningful participation in public decision making. To provide long-term support for efforts in Mississippi, CommonHealth ACTION has established a new office in Jackson that will serve as a nexus for grantee technical assistance activities and capacity building in the state. Through targeted and strategic technical assistance, the nearly 50 grantees in Mississippi will participate in group learning and training while having increased opportunities to collaborate.


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    East Biloxi Community Collaborative
    Since 2012, CommonHealth ACTION has been using a Collective Impact approach to build a community collaborative in Biloxi, MS. The newly formed East Biloxi Community Collaborative (EBCC) is housed in the Coastal Office of the Mississippi Center for Justice and is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Collaborative is made up of approximately 30 Community Organizations and Advocates who provide or promote social services in East Biloxi which is defined as everything on the Biloxi Peninsula east of White Avenue, or the Keesler AFB Main Gate.

    EBCC works around five focus areas which are divided into Committees: Civic Engagement, Economic Security, Education, Health, and Neighborhood Viability.  Each Committee is governed by very specific and agreed upon goals and objectives, but the over-arching mission of the EBCC is to create a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable East Biloxi with improved outcomes for children and families by working together to develop a place where families can live, work, play, and thrive.

    One of the foundational beliefs of the EBCC is that there is an inherent value in partnerships and working collectively. Partnerships are definitely the lifeblood of EBCC.  No one person can do everything and no one facility can meet all the needs of the community. Working collectively can expedite service delivery and also means that the services provided can be more diverse.

    The most gratifying result of the work that the EBCC is doing is the tremendous outpouring of support and participation from East Biloxi residents, as Program Director Carmelita Scott  explains, “the people who are participating are truly our greatest success. We have residents who come to a community meeting and ask when our next will be.”

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    CommonHealth ACTION is supporting the Cuyahoga County Board of Health with the design and implementation of a county-wide health improvement process called the Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga (HIP-C). The purpose of HIP- C is to develop a county-wide health improvement plan that addresses the needs identified by Cuyahoga County's communities and populations through a community-driven process with the goal of creating and implementing comprehensive and collaborative strategies that improve the health status and quality of life for all people who live, work, learn, and play in Cuyahoga County, OH.  CommonHealth ACTION has provided technical assistance, capacity support, and facilitation for this process to ensure that an equity lens is used in the development of goals and strategies and implementation of the CHIP.

    CommonHealth ACTION developed and facilitated a session for the prioritization of health and community issues identified through assessments and surveys.  This session highlighted the need for a common understanding of the issues and created an environment that generated consensus for the four priorities of the CHIP by allowing the HIP-C Planning Committee to craft clear narratives for the original fourteen key priority health issue areas.  CommonHealth ACTION facilitated another session for the development of the goals and strategic approaches that will be used to achieve the four identified priorities.  Prior to the full day work session for the development of goals and strategic approaches, CHA facilitated a day of knowledge building and discussion on issues such as equity, racism, privilege, oppression, and the social determinants of health to ensure that participants had a common language and framing to develop their work using an equity lens.  CommonHealth ACTION continues to support this process through technical assistance and support for the work plan development of subcommittees, equity framing, and the creation of a final CHIP product for release in the middle of 2015.  More information can be found at http://ccbh.info/hipcuyahoga/.



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    Sunflower County United for Children
    Since 2012, CommonHealth ACTION has been using a Collective Impact approach to build a community collaborative in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, Sunflower County.

    The newly formed Sunflower County United for Children (SCUC) is housed in the Delta Office of the Mississippi Center for Justice and is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Collaborative is made up of approximately 30 Community Organizations, Advocates, and County and Municipal Government Officials who provide or promote social services in Sunflower County, which poses a unique challenge in this rural county that is the longest, geographically speaking, in the state of Mississippi.

    SCUC works around five focus areas which are divided into Committees: Civic Engagement, Economic Security, Education, Health, and Neighborhood Viability.  Each Committee is governed by very specific and agreed upon goals and objectives, but the over-arching mission of SCUC is to work together to create equitable opportunities and improved systems in Sunflower County where children and families can thrive.


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    In September 2013, CommonHealth ACTION received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to conduct a one-year environmental scan to understand veterans’ historical context, key policies and trends related to mental health, and elevate opportunities to improve equitable mental health outcomes for our veterans.  CommonHealth ACTION conducted a literature review and media scan, key informant interviews and a convening of advisors, and collected original data through focus groups and a national survey, in partnership with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  This study identified challenges and opportunities facing all veterans, with a particular focus on 12 veteran subpopulations who, due to their characteristics or circumstances, experience vulnerability when they interact with systems and institutions.

    In the report, two sets of veteran subpopulations are explored: veterans belonging to groups who have been historically oppressed—including veterans of color as well as women, immigrants, and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or queer—as well as veterans with certain post-military experiences, by choice or by circumstance, who encounter challenges as they interact with systems and institutions designed to support them. These subpopulations include veterans who are disabled, elderly, homeless, incarcerated, other-than-honorably discharged, rural dwellers, students, and the unemployed. CommonHealth ACTION defines vulnerability as the degree to which people are susceptible to experiencing oppression or harm during or as a result of their interactions with or feedback from systems, institutions, or entities that affect their health or well-being.

    In the full report, CommonHealth ACTION identifies opportunities for each of the subpopulations to achieve greater equity through recommending policies and programs, strategies to implement policies and programs, and research questions to spark further discussion. In addition, CommonHealth ACTION lays the foundation for a veteran-led, comprehensive, inclusive, and equitable national narrative that supports a cultural shift in our understanding of veterans’ mental health.  Furthermore, CommonHealth ACTION recommends the following calls to action:

    • We need a national dialogue that engages veterans and their families as well as military leaders, service organizations, policymakers, and others in order to create the culture change needed to achieve greater equity for veterans’ mental health.
    • We encourage military and veteran leaders to invest in inclusive, veteran-informed policy and culture changes to address mental health supports and organizational structures at the start of military service rather than shortly before separation.
    • We need to invest in more research and assessment to understand specific needs and experiences of diverse veteran subpopulations.


    Special Note: The cover of our publications features photos from the Veterans Portrait Project, an online photo gallery that highlights the many faces of veterans from all branches and eras of the U.S. Armed Forces. We would like to recognize and thank its founder and former Air Force Photographer, Stacy L. Pearsall, as well as all the featured veterans, for allowing us to use their photos. For more information about the Veterans Portrait Project, visit http://www.veteransportraitproject.com/.

    To access the reports generated from this project, please click on the links below. For more information or questions about the reports, email us at healthyveterans@commonhealthaction.org.

    Download attachments:

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  • 08/26/15--13:57: Mississippi Faith in Action
  • Mississippi Faith in Action
    CommonHealth ACTION has partnered with Brown University and the Miriam Hospital to develop the Mississippi Faith in Action/HIV-AIDS Initiative.  According to the 2011 National HIV Surveillance Report, Mississippi has the 7th highest rate of HIV infection in the United States. The state’s capitol city, Jackson, had the 3rd highest rate of HIV diagnoses and the 8th highest rate of AIDS diagnosis by metropolitan statistical area (MSA).

    The MS Faith in Action Initiative seeks to increase participation among faith-based leaders, representing denominational and non-denominational churches and houses of worship which are predominantly African American, to take part in this congregational approach to combatting HIV infection.

    CHA will provide technical assistance and capacity-building expertise to faith-based leaders, community leaders, and other stakeholders in Jackson, in an effort to help reduce rates of contraction; increase awareness; and support the development of healthy community environments for those living with HIV/AIDS in Jackson. 


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    CommonHealth ACTION is supporting the Cuyahoga County Board of Health with the design and implementation of a county-wide health improvement process called the Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga (HIP-C). The purpose of HIP- C is to develop a county-wide health improvement plan that addresses the needs identified by Cuyahoga County's communities and populations through a community-driven process with the goal of creating and implementing comprehensive and collaborative strategies that improve the health status and quality of life for all people who live, work, learn, and play in Cuyahoga County, OH.  CommonHealth ACTION has provided technical assistance, capacity support, and facilitation for this process to ensure that an equity lens is used in the development of goals and strategies and implementation of the CHIP.

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    CommonHealth ACTION is serving as technical and process advisors to Cummins, Inc. as they develop and implement their Global Health and Wellbeing Strategy.  Cummins is a global company with over 70,000 employees worldwide, whose business is to create efficient and powerful engines and power generators.  We are working with the CMO and his health and wellbeing team to strategize, navigate the complicated nature of global work, and support the implementation of activities related to their emerging Global Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

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    CommonHealth ACTION is working with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to develop and facilitate a health equity strategic plan for the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPD). 

    To establish a common language and understanding —a foundational step for any collaborative effort— CommonHealth ACTION will first facilitate a one-day health equity workshop for the Connecticut Department of Public Health staff who will be engaged in the strategic planning process.  The equity workshop will provide participants with a common language and shared understanding around equity and the social determinants of health. Next, we will facilitate a strategic planning retreat where CTDPH staff will incorporate an equity lens into their work and refine the strategic priority focus areas outlined in their existing strategic plan in order to explicitly identify opportunities to advance health equity within the state.  Finally, CommonHealth ACTION will work with CTDPH and ASTHO to draft a comprehensive health equity strategic plan to guide future work.


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    CommonHealth ACTION is working with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to develop and facilitate a health equity strategic plan for the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPD). 

    To establish a common language and understanding —a foundational step for any collaborative effort— CommonHealth ACTION will first facilitate a one-day health equity workshop for the Connecticut Department of Public Health staff who will be engaged in the strategic planning process.  The equity workshop will provide participants with a common language and shared understanding around equity and the social determinants of health. Next, we will facilitate a strategic planning retreat where CTDPH staff will incorporate an equity lens into their work and refine the strategic priority focus areas outlined in their existing strategic plan in order to explicitly identify opportunities to advance health equity within the state.  Finally, CommonHealth ACTION will work with CTDPH and ASTHO to draft a comprehensive health equity strategic plan to guide future work.


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    Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Training Institute
    CommonHealth ACTION launched its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training Institute on October 23, 2015. The ongoing trainings are designed to develop your knowledge and skills to apply equity, diversity, and inclusion, professionally and personally. Participants in the training will leave prepared to decide and act more equitably through policies, programs, and practices. Training modules inlcude: common language, historical context, racism & implicit bias, privilege & oppression, equity lens, and policy. Read more to learn about our next training.

    Our next training will be held on March 17 - 18, 2016 at our conference center in Washington, DC. This interactive and dynamic training is designed for professionals from all disciplines, sectors, and career stages. Whether you are new to equity, diversity, and inclusion or already addressing equity in your work, this training will give you knowledge, skills, and tools to make a greater impact. 

    Participants will gain knowledge, skills, and abilities in CommonHealth ACTION's Equity Competencies©:
    • Common Language: Awareness and understanding of EDI words, phrases, and concepts. Ability to exchange knowledge and information based on shared meaning (in ways that are easily understood) to support collaboration and communication.
    • Historical Context: Knowledge, awareness, and understanding of U.S. history; the evolving policy environment; past and current legal and social constructs for the privilege and oppression of certain populations; and their impacts on current societal conditions.
    • Privilege and Oppression: Knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the impacts of privilege and oppression at personal, community, and systemic levels. Including a specific focus on race and racism; how they have changed over time; how they impact our actions and outcomes; and an exploration of implicit bias.
    • Equity Lens: Ability to analyze the unfair benefits and/or burdens within a society or population by understanding the social, political, and environmental contexts of policies, programs, and practices.
    • Policy: Knowledge and understanding of EDI in policymaking, analysis, and implementation with a focus on equity impact.
    • Commitment to Ongoing Learning: Expansion of knowledge, skills, and understanding through engagement in a culture of inquiry and continuous learning.

    Continuing Education:
    This training will provide up to twelve (12) hours of instruction that may be applied towards continuing education units (CEUs). You must complete the full two days to receive a certificate of completion. 

    Register Today!

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    CommonHealth ACTION has collaborated with Susan G. Komen® to provide focus group testing for Komen educational materials, in both English and Spanish languages. The goal of this contract is to determine whether Komen's educational materials are understandable to consumers of diverse backgrounds, varying levels or health literacy, and living in the Washington DC metro area.



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    CommonHealth ACTION is working with Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) to develop and deliver equity training and coaching that will position SCH to institutionalize equity in its policies, procedures, and practices. This equity infusion will improve patient care and relationships with community members by addressing implicit bias,  racism, and bigotry while at the same time creating a new premise for daily interaction that frames decision-making within the context of equity and equitable outcomes for all people.

    Over a period of 12 months, CommonHealth ACTION will create a tailored equity curriculum and train approximately 50 staff using a train-the-trainer model; support these SCH trainers with feedback and coaching; advise leadership on applying an equity lens to internal policies and procedures; facilitate an internal equity advisory group to integrate strategies into operations and practice; and create tools to reinforce learning and help staff apply an equity lens to their everyday work.

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    The National Collaborative for Health Equity and CommonHealth ACTION has partnered to design the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Culture of Health Leaders National Program Center (CoHL), one of four new RWJF national leadership programs that will develop leaders to promote a national Culture of Health.

    CoHL National Program Center participants will engage in three years of learning experiences, including individual and team-based projects that encourage innovation, discovery, and hands-on application. They will work with nontraditional partners on the production of health, engage authentically with community to change systems and institutions, and share their professional and life experiences in support of other leaders and the field. Participants will also work intensively with nationally recognized subject matter experts, mentors, and coaches as well as with their CoHL and other National Program Center peers to lead change within and among systems and institutions.

    Working with other National Program Centers funded through the RWJF Leadership Program, the CoHL program center will:
    •  Transform individuals – in both the public and private sectors – into agents of social change;
    • Equip individual leaders and teams with tools, skills, knowledge, and competencies necessary to build public will and policymaker support for local, state, and national action to advance health equity;
    • Build a common framework, understanding, and language across sectors to help individuals and teams coordinate the use of their resources and strengths;
    • Model multi-sector collaboration necessary to create community conditions and opportunities for health; and
    • Transform communities into spaces where no one is disadvantaged because of where they were born or live, their income, or the racial or ethnic group with which they identify.



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    Commonhealth ACTION is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support a convening of leaders across the field of the Social Determinants of Health to assess the state of the field and research agendas to be addressed by RWJF. Deliverables for this contract include:
    • Planning and managing a convening of experts and stakeholders, including an environmental scan to support participant identitication, developing content of meeting materials, and handling all associated logistics and facilitation and implentation activities
    • Follow-up reporting, including evaluation findings, as well as a proceedings report and a report sharing lessons and recommendations with the field.

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    CommonHealth ACTION is working with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to develop and facilitate a health equity strategic plan for the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPD). 

    To establish a common language and understanding —a foundational step for any collaborative effort— CommonHealth ACTION will first facilitate a one-day health equity workshop for the Connecticut Department of Public Health staff who will be engaged in the strategic planning process.  The equity workshop will provide participants with a common language and shared understanding around equity and the social determinants of health. Next, we will facilitate a strategic planning retreat where CTDPH staff will incorporate an equity lens into their work and refine the strategic priority focus areas outlined in their existing strategic plan in order to explicitly identify opportunities to advance health equity within the state.  Finally, CommonHealth ACTION will work with CTDPH and ASTHO to draft a comprehensive health equity strategic plan to guide future work.


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    Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Training Institute
    CommonHealth ACTION launched its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training Institute on October 23, 2015. The ongoing trainings are designed to develop your knowledge and skills to apply equity, diversity, and inclusion, professionally and personally. Participants in the training will leave prepared to decide and act more equitably through policies, programs, and practices. Training modules inlcude: common language, historical context, racism & implicit bias, privilege & oppression, equity lens, and policy. Read more to learn about our next training.

    Our next training will be held on December 5 - 6, 2018 at our conference center in Washington, DC. This interactive and dynamic training is designed for professionals from all disciplines, sectors, and career stages. Whether you are new to equity, diversity, and inclusion or already addressing equity in your work, this training will give you knowledge, skills, and tools to make a greater impact. 

    Participants will gain knowledge, skills, and abilities in CommonHealth ACTION's Equity Competencies©:
    • Common Language: Awareness and understanding of EDI words, phrases, and concepts. Ability to exchange knowledge and information based on shared meaning (in ways that are easily understood) to support collaboration and communication.
    • Historical Context: Knowledge, awareness, and understanding of U.S. history; the evolving policy environment; past and current legal and social constructs for the privilege and oppression of certain populations; and their impacts on current societal conditions.
    • Privilege and Oppression: Knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the impacts of privilege and oppression at personal, community, and systemic levels. Including a specific focus on race and racism; how they have changed over time; how they impact our actions and outcomes; and an exploration of implicit bias.
    • Equity Lens: Ability to analyze the unfair benefits and/or burdens within a society or population by understanding the social, political, and environmental contexts of policies, programs, and practices.
    • Policy: Knowledge and understanding of EDI in policymaking, analysis, and implementation with a focus on equity impact.
    • Commitment to Ongoing Learning: Expansion of knowledge, skills, and understanding through engagement in a culture of inquiry and continuous learning.

    Continuing Education:
    This training will provide up to twelve (12) hours of instruction that may be applied towards continuing education units (CEUs). You must complete the full two days to receive a certificate of completion. 

    Register Today!

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