Cultivating a Health Equity Ecosystem: Lessons Learned from the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative
The year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) grant program. As we approach two decades of EHDI, we've been reflecting on our state’s investment in these grants and its impact over the years. We have also been thinking about what future investments are needed in order to strengthen Minnesota’s ecosystem to advance health equity for all. Out of this reflecting, analyzing, and visioning came this report: Cultivating a Health Equity Ecosystem: Lessons Learned from the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative.
This report was written by the MDH Center for Health Equity in partnership with staff from Rainbow Research and the University of Minnesota Healthy Youth Development Prevention Research Center. A special thank you goes out to all of the EHDI grantees throughout the years for your commitment to advance equity in our communities and for teaching MDH important lessons about how we can better support your work.
Recorded Webinar on Report Findings
In September 2020, CHE Director Kou Thao and report contributor Iván López-Justiniano hosted a webinar with more than 100 grantees, partners, and stakeholders to discuss the report's key findings and lessons learned.
Letter from the Center for Health Equity Director
August 24, 2020
Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI). For the past year, the Center for Health Equity has been working with a group of previous and current EHDI grantees to develop a report to capture the lessons we have learned over the past two decades on what it takes to advance health equity in communities of color and American Indians.
A lot has changed in the past few months. We witnessed COVID-19 ravage our communities and lay bare the systemic inequities that perpetuate health disparities. The world watched as George Floyd was murdered in our backyard and our cities burned. We are trying to process our pain and grief in the midst of the pandemic. Yet we have also seen our communities mobilize to support one another, push for justice, and rebuild. Given all of this, we at the center have struggled with how and when to release this report. However, in reviewing the takeaways from the report, we realized the lessons we have learned from our community partners are relevant now more than ever.
We are deeply grateful for the leadership of our grantees over the past two decades; they have paved the way to ensure our communities have the resources, access and services needed to create their healthiest futures. Grantees have also had profound impact on systems change at multiple levels. The state’s investment in EHDI has resulted in outcomes that cannot be quantified in metrics alone. We also recognize EHDI is one element within a complex ecosystem that requires many entities working together in order to truly achieve health and racial equity in Minnesota.
We are pleased to share this report: Cultivating a Health Equity Ecosystem: Lessons Learned from the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative. If we have learned anything from the last few months, it is that we will not see an end to structural inequities unless systems and institutions recognize their role in perpetuating inequities, share power and collaborate across sectors, and move to invest significantly more in community-driven solutions. Please join us in spreading this report widely.
We also invite you to join a webinar on Wednesday, September 16 from 1-2 pm to walk through the report and the lessons learned. Please register for the webinar at the link provided above.
A huge thank you to our EHDI grantees past and present and the many staff and partners who worked tirelessly to put this report together.
Director, Center for Health Equity