The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines health equity as “the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.” As we look towards PHAB Reaccreditation this year, we’re reminded that Health Equity is at the core of every single one of the ten essential services. With that being said, how can we do anything but center health equity in our work and in the training we provide to every single employee? However, as well intentioned as we are, we are also humans with our own perceptions and biases, and those can sometimes blind us to inequities we do not experience. Given that reality, we at Johnson County Public Health established a Health Equity Workgroup, which was tasked with providing trainings and tools to our entire workforce that would have us questioning our biases, considering experiences outside our own, and listening to voices that don’t always make it to the table.

In 2022, in collaboration with the Midwestern Public Health Training Center at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health, we built a “Building Health Equity” training for our entire staff. This required 8 hours of in person time and 4 hours of asynchronous training; and our intention was to ensure every employee of JCPH had that same baseline of training. It was well received, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done, but learning is a life-long endeavor, and we continue to work towards improvement. We provide additional, supplemental trainings every quarter, and we onboard all new staff members with an overview of the in person training.

We don’t pretend that we have all the answers, but we remain committed to asking the deeper questions, and continuing to push each other and ourselves to be better so that everyone we serve has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.

In health,
Danielle Pettit-Majewski
Director, Johnson County Public Health