The new 2017 Equity Fellows began their program year with an Opening Retreat in Nha Trang, Viet Nam, March 29 – April 3. This was the first occasion for the full cohort to meet, so the retreat was designed for introductions and initial bonding among 19 individuals with diverse backgrounds and professional experiences. The retreat kicked off with an orientation to the fellowship program’s experimental curriculum aimed at exposing fellows to equity knowledge and analytics and developing their leadership skills and competencies across 5 in-person events to spark and promote equity values, commitment and action. Additional sessions outlined the framework for learning about health equity and values, introduced leadership training and peer coaching practices, and encouraged Fellows to set personal and professional development goals.
Most importantly, the week enabled Fellows to bond as a group, through discussion and reflection, an informal team competition, a field trip, and other shared activities. These collective experiences help build a spirit of exchange and collaboration for the program year ahead and for longer-term development of the health equity community.
The 2017 Equity Fellows have demonstrated a shared commitment to health equity through their work in such fields as clinical medicine, public health, economics, public policy, law, computer science, anthropology, and communications.