California Health Care Safety Net Institute Launches Racial Equity Program

The California Health Care Safety Net Institute (SNI), CAPH’s partner, recently launched a new initiative to advance public health care systems’ efforts to dismantle racism and improve health equity. As major safety net providers in communities of color, California’s public health care systems have long focused on health equity. However, the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on racial and ethnic groups and the racial unrest of 2020 have further exposed the need to address structural racism in more deliberate and meaningful ways.  

The Racial Equity Community of Practice is an 18-month cohort-based learning collaborative consisting of nearly 70 leaders and teams from across 12 public health care systems. This first-of-its-kind approach was designed for public health care systems in partnership with the National Equity Project, an Oakland-based leadership and systems change organization focused on advancing equity.  

The objectives of the Community of Practice are to develop leadership capacity to make organizational change and create a shared environment for a network of equity leaders to engage in peer learning and action. The Community of Practice aims to do this over two phases through a series of in-person and virtual gatherings. 

In the first phase, which took place over the first four months of 2022, participants met monthly to build the critical foundation of a shared understanding of the structures of historical racism and the shared language necessary to discuss racism and its impacts openly. This phase has been instrumental in laying a critical foundation for the rest of the collaborative.  

In May, the Community of Practice will begin the learning and action phase. Participating teams will identify racial equity goals and apply a set of tools to navigate and influence positive change at their organizations. Community of Practice members will engage in a thoughtful process for designing change that includes research, ideation, collaboration, testing, and reflecting on their progress. Building on their collective knowledge, teams will engage in cross-organizational exchanges to share successes and lessons learned with each other to assist with implementation.  

“SNI is proud to be part of this important initiative, helping to advance racial equity across California’s public health care systems,” said Giovanna Giuliani Executive Director of SNI. “We believe this work will make a difference in the day-to-day lives of patients, staff, providers, and in the communities that public health care systems serve.” 

This project is funded by the California Health Care Foundation. For more information about the Racial Equity Community of Practice, visit SNI’s web page