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Strategies & Tools to Integrate Health Equity

Integrating health equity into an organization is a complicated, ongoing process. It tends to be a continuous process of learning and improvement. Below are some creative ideas for helping to integrate health equity concerns into your policies, programs and procedures. For more experienced practitioners, let us know what you’re seeing on your campus and if these ideas are in line with your strategy!

Idea 1: Form a Health Equity Committee

Goal:
Form a committee to serve as the primary governing body for planning, implementing and evaluating organizational diversity, inclusion  and health equity within your mental health departments.

Key Considerations:

  • Does your institution already have a diversity, equity and/or inclusion office that can help lend expertise in this process?
  • Who have you gathered at the table? Who is missing? How will you ensure inclusivity around the table?

Resources/Tools

Idea 2: State your Commitment to Diversity

Goal:
Develop a policy or equity vision statement that demonstrates your department’s commitment.

Key Considerations:

  • Is the statement endorsed by senior leadership?
  • Does the policy address the links between equity and mental health?
  • Does it include commitment to addressing equity issues?
  • Have you gathered input from all stakeholders?
  • How will you communicate your statement widely across campus?

Resources/Tools

Idea 3: Conduct a Departmental Self-Assessment

Goal:

Evaluate your current level of  equity.

Key Considerations:

  • What knowledge, skills, and resources can you build on?
  • Where are the gaps?
  • Identify opportunities and any potential barriers to progress.

Resources/Tools:

Idea 4: Create an Action Plan

Goal:

Create a long-term plan to incorporate health equity into all aspects of your work

Key Considerations:

  • Use your assessment results to develop this plan
  • How will you incorporate health equity into principles, policies, structures and practices of your department?
  • Think about how to actively remove barriers to services. Programs and services should be relevant to the needs of diverse students. Promotional materials and important forms should be inclusive, translated as needed, user/student-friendly, easily accessed, and in a variety of accessible formats. Ensure that your location is fully accessible for people with disabilities as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Resources/Tools:

 

Idea 5: Establish a Baseline

 Goal:

Begin to collect data on individual students and the groups you currently serve

Key Considerations:

  • Which  groups exist at your institution and find out the extent to which they use and are satisfied with your services
  • This baseline will shape outreach and engagement goals and can be used to benchmark progress against your diversity goals.
Idea 6: Determine Professional Development Needs

Goal:

To assess the professional development needs for your office, staff or campus.

Key Considerations:

  • What do department staff perceive as their professional development needs with regard to interacting with cultural groups?
  • How will you create continuous learning opportunities to build their competence in equity issues?

Resources/Tools:

For some ideas, check out the equity tools training page