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CCH Equity Work Group Update

The Center for Community Health (CCH) remains committed to equity and anti-racism. CCH's mission is to catalyze, support, and conduct meaningful community and academic engagement across the research spectrum to improve health and health equity. We recognize that we cannot fulfill this mission without addressing inequity and racism within our Center.

In our early response to the racism and trauma laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-Black police violence, CCH funded 28 organizations and initiatives working to address health disparities and Covid-19 in high risk Black and Brown communities. Recognizing the need to address equity and racism within CCH and with feedback from community stakeholders and incredible staff, CCH has established an Equity Work Group. The work group, which includes the CCH Co-Directors and staff representatives from CCH, meets biweekly and is dedicated to developing an equity and anti-racist framework that drives every aspect of how we operate, from staff hiring and retention practices to programmatic and seed funding priorities. In initial discussion, the Equity Workgroup returned to priorities that emerged from the CCH retreat last year, where community stakeholders, staff, and faculty said that community leadership and representation in the Center was a top priority. We are now planning to hire a third party facilitator to guide us in this process of developing an equity and anti-racism framework and have prioritized establishing a community governance structure for CCH.

The work group is also reviewing feedback from the Racial Equity Survey staff completed this summer, which will inform the Center's continued work in this area. Staff felt strongly that all staff should participate in some form of anti-racism or equity training. In response to that feedback, CCH is providing an opportunity for all Center staff to participate in a series of YWCA Racial Equity Workshops and strongly encouraging staff to participate during their normal working hours. The workshops are hosted by the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, a longstanding CCH and ARCC partner.

These are initial steps towards creating a more equitable workplace and developing anti-racist policies, practices, and culture in CCH. Stay tuned for more updates and reach out to CCH@northwestern.edu with suggestions, feedback, and questions.

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