Who: The Building Health Equity training program is intended for health department employees across the state of Iowa. We are a team of public health practitioners, faculty, staff, and students who are committed to pursuing health equity. We are not experts on this subject, rather fellow learners who facilitate conversations that push ourselves and others to deepen our understanding of health equity principles and incorporate that into our lives and work.

What: The Building Health Equity initiative is an Iowa Department of Public Health funded program led by the Institute for Public Health Practice at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. The training program consists of six modules covering a range of topics that give participants a foundational understanding of health equity issues, causes, and outcomes, as well as the tools to connect this knowledge to personal and professional situations. Additionally, each session is preceded by asynchronous individual work that connects to the topics covered in the upcoming session. The specific dates and timeline of the sessions can be adapted to fit the needs of each health department receiving the training.

Where: So far, this training program has been implemented in two large health departments in the state of Iowa. However, the program is designed for departments of all sizes. It has been facilitated through both an online and in-person format, although we prioritize in person, face-to-face sessions that take place within the departments.

Why: Racism, ableism, classism, and other forms of oppression, bias, or discrimination against certain groups or populations contribute to health disparities and other disproportionate negative outcomes in those affected. We must work to acknowledge our own experiences and biases to better understand the role each of us has in promoting equity in our work as public health professionals. Additionally, it is imperative that we recognize the historical and current systems that contribute to these disparities so we can work to dismantle them to better the health and well-being of all members of the communities we serve.

If you are affiliated with an Iowa-based health department and are interested in receiving this training, please contact Kathleen May (kathleen-may@uiowa.edu) or Laurie Walkner (laurie-walkner@uiowa.edu).