Designing a health equity project gives Fellows the opportunity to combine peer and experiential learning – and to make an impact in promoting health equity in the region. These projects, carried out in the Fellows’ second year, enable Fellows to put into practice the core values of health equity, which they have studied over the program year, and exercise newly acquired leadership skills.
During the Project Accelerator workshop, held October 31-November 5 in Luang Prabang, Laos, the 2017 Fellows finalized proposals for the group projects they will carry out after their first fellowship year concludes in February 2018. Fellows had earlier identified topics for their group projects in earlier fellowship events – including a pilot for community-led impact monitoring, research-based advocacy on the needs of Myanmar migrant workers, the role of community health workers, among other themes – and in Luang Prabang, Equity Initiative program staff joined by 2016 Fellow alumnus Jeremy Lim helped them bring sharper definition to the goals and scope of their projects.
The Project Accelerator also aims to build leadership and management competencies via action-oriented training workshops and open discussions. In Luang Prabang, discussions helped Fellows deepen their understanding of approaches to health equity that incorporate social determinants of health, the use of evidence, and implications for policy. Other explorations of equity topics included a case study discussion and a debate exercise, both of which facilitated critical thinking and consideration of alternative viewpoints. A session on theater-based leadership skills allowed Fellows to exercise creativity, spontaneity, communication, leadership and purposeful teamwork, and coaching on public speaking helped Fellows develop effective openings and closings, apply appropriate body language, handle challenging questions, and inspire their audience to make change.
Fellows also enjoyed time for social bonding and cultural awareness, with a cultural site visits to an open-air market and early-morning alms-giving to local Buddhist monks.
The Fellows’ first year concludes with the Annual Forum, scheduled for February 3-6, 2018 in Thailand, when they will be joined by graduated and incoming Fellows and keynote speaker Harvey Fineberg.