Disclaimer: These repositories are in no way comprehensive. These resources here offer insight and guidance on how to achieve health equity in the workplace. We encourage you to see this as a resource guide for your journey on understanding health equity in your place of employment and for tools and tips on how to thrive at work.
If you have any questions about the resources or topics that are found here, please reach out to Dominique Shepherd, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
What does health equity in the workplace mean?
Let’s begin by defining health equity. In a report designed to increase consensus around the meaning of health equity, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provides the following definition: “Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”
Discriminatory practices are often embedded in institutional and systems processes, leading to groups being under-represented in decision-making at all levels or underserved. Inequity, discrimination, and bias have no place in the workplace. Yet, they remain, rooted in historical and present-day policies and systems that favor one group over others.
Research shows that promoting health equity can positively affect employee health, development, productivity, and reduce health care costs. Achieving health equity in the workplace means deconstructing barriers that hinder folks from equitable opportunities and instead, we should be creating a sustainable environment where employees can thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally.
What are some internal strategies that can be implemented for health equity in the workplace?
- Offering diversity, equity and inclusion training to all staff members at all levels
- Review organizational policies and procedures to ensure they are culturally humble and accessible.
- Ensure all employees have a voice in decision-making.
- Pay equity studies and consistent review for factors such as inflation on the living wage.
- Ensure our community partners, external businesses and other stakeholder are committed to equity and equitable practices.
- Move with intentionality when it comes to maximizing the utilization of historically marginalized vendors.
- Promote and offer training on health literacy and employee benefits (EOB) program literacy.
- Comprehensive paid family and medical leave program.
- Offer anti-racist education/training and implement an anti-racist policy.
- Diverse representation at all levels of leadership.
- Equitable evaluation and promotion matrix.
- Working conditions that promote a healthy work-life balance.
- Build the organization’s capacity to understand and operationalize anti-racism equity strategies via training and tool development
- Ensure equitable structures, processes, and accountability in the organization’s workforce, contracts and budgeting, communications, and publishing
- Integrate trauma-informed lens and approaches when developing and implementing policies and practices
- Assess organizational change (culture, policy, process) over time
Reference: American Heart Association CEO RoundTable: Driving Health Equity in the Workplace