Project Accelerator: Translating Health Equity Knowledge into Action

During The Equity Initiative’s Project Accelerator workshop on November 11-15 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the fifteen inaugural Equity Fellows worked to finalize their fellowship project proposals, reviewed what they had learned throughout the year, and continued building leadership and management competencies through training sessions focusing on peer coaching and project and media management.

CMB’s Equity Fellows represent diverse backgrounds and professional interests, so one of the goals of The Equity Initiative is to ensure that they share a core knowledge base of health equity. Informed by equity values, each Fellow uses this knowledge base to develop a project proposal to be implemented during their second year. The goal of the project is for Fellows to put into practice the core values of health equity and leadership through special project design and implementation.

Sessions at Siem Reap were designed to help Fellows link equity values and concepts to macro and micro equity actions. Their discussions were enriched by the field visits and policy dialogues of earlier program events – including action visits to Viet Nam’s Central Highlands, Cape Town, South Africa, and communities along the Thai-Myanmar border, plus exchanges with Harvard faculty, South African community leaders, and Southeast Asians policymakers and activists. Equity Initiative Co-directors Piya Hanvoravongchai and Le Nhan Phuong, together with CMB President Lincoln Chen, guided Fellows to link these experiences with a “framework for action” that consisted of two major components: social determinants and health care systems. The focus was on the importance of moral reasoning and public engagement on what is fair, what is unfair, and why it is important to promote fairness.

The program year for the inaugural Fellows is moving quickly toward its concluding event in February. This two-part Annual Forum will include leadership policy dialogues in Bangkok, followed by a two-day retreat to enable Fellows to synthesize their experience of the past year and develop ways to apply it in their future work.