The Equity Initiative’s 2nd Annual Forum Launches Equity Projects and Strengthens Community Building

The Equity Initiative’s Annual Forum marks the conclusion of the first phase of the Fellows’ experience – an initial program year of leadership training and exposure to health equity concepts and practices and the strengthening of equity communities through networking among Fellows from Southeast Asia and China. The Forum also marks the start of the Fellows’ second year projects to advance health equity in the region. The 2017 Fellows – 18 in number – celebrated their graduation and joined representatives of the 2016 cohort and incoming 2018 cohort in Hua Hin, Thailand, February 3-5, for several days of interaction and bonding to pursue health equity in their home countries.

Among the highlights of the 2nd Annual Forum were leadership dialogues with CMB Trustee Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and a global leader in public health, and Suwit Wibulpolprasert, senior advisor to Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.

During the Forum, the 2017 Fellows presented five group projects, which address social, economic, and geographic contexts of inequity in Southeast Asian communities to be implemented over the next year, on the following challenges:

· health equity of Myanmar migrant workers in China and Malaysia;

· health impact of a coal-fired power plant on the well-being of an ethnic minority community in the Laos and Thailand border;

· network on community health workers in Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Viet Nam;

· raising public awareness about the social determinants of health through profiling of health equity leaders in the Philippines and Southeast Asia; and

· piloting a new curriculum to train young health equity leaders (ages 18-25).

As Annual Forums are designed to bond Fellows and build relationships across cohorts, 2016 Fellows joined the Hua Hin gathering, where they shared some of the lessons they have learned in implementing their own equity projects. Incoming 2018 Fellows also attended, giving them a preview of the learning that will take place over the next year.

CMB congratulates the 2017 Fellows on successfully completing their first year of the Equity Initiative program!