The first cohort of 15 Inaugural Fellows of CMB’s Equity Initiative convened for the program’s opening retreat in Hue, Vietnam, on April 21-26. Held in a natural environment, the retreat aimed to promote bonding among the Fellows, who bring diverse health-related experience from government agencies, NGOs, communications, consulting, and other sectors. The Fellows, eight men and seven women, come from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malayasia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and China.
The participatory retreat was animated by personal introductions, exchanges on health equity challenges, and a field visit toward the Laotian border, where Fellows visited a commune health clinic and, in several home visits, listened to villagers describe their experiences in accessing services for mental health and for maternal and child health care. Fellows were exposed to leadership development through interactive two-day session on adaptive leadership. Conversations among the Fellows – whether reacting to what they observed in Vietnam or drawing on their own professional experiences in Southeast Asia – highlighted the entrepreneurial spirit that infuses the group.
The retreat was organized by the five-member Equity Initiative team, supported by Dr. Nguyen Dzung, Vice Chairman of the Thua Thien Hue People’s Committee; Komatra Chuengsatiansup, a medical anthropologist from Thailand; and Eric Martin of Adaptive Change Associates.
The Equity Initiative is a CMB-Atlantic Philanthropies partnership that aims to develop 500 health leaders on health equity in Southeast Asia over the next two decades through peer, experiential, and online learning.