By Sabrina Edgington, Senior Director of JEDI Initiatives
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved has always been committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in our programming and mission. However, in the past year, ACU’s team of staff members and stakeholders agreed to establish a formal justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) initiative to elevate the importance of JEDI in the health care sector and provide resources and support for health care organizations. Our journey leading up to the launch of the JEDI Initiative began with a small anti-racist book club. When we started the book club, we imagined a space to share and reflect on podcasts and articles and discuss opportunities to incorporate what we’ve learned into our work. But something bigger happened: we learned to be vulnerable, challenge deeply held beliefs and values, and hold each other accountable. We’ve learned what it means to be uncomfortable – really uncomfortable. Have you ever tried to tell a superior that one of their comments is grounded in white supremacy? It’s courageous, daring, and uncomfortable in the true sense of the word. It’s uncomfortable for the person calling attention to the matter as well as the person who receives the feedback. Today, it’s normal for us to hold each other accountable and receive feedback with humility and gratitude.
We have come a long way since our little book club started (and it’s still ongoing). JEDI is now in our strategic plan as a primary pillar for our work. We also incorporated JEDI in our staff satisfaction surveys, developed an equity statement, created a JEDI job position, developed a JEDI Task Force, added salary ranges to job announcements to support pay equity and transparency, and more. We still have a lot of work to do recognizing that achieving JEDI within organizations takes years and continuous intention. But, in this moment, we want to invite our members and partners to join us in this journey.
Our Planned JEDI Programming
ACU has a lot of things planned for the next two years. We’re focused on two areas of growth – awareness and transformation. To increase understanding of JEDI issues, we’ll be providing new resources in the form of short-form videos (in the style of Instagram Reels or TikTok), online courses, and webinars. To support transformation, ACU will host learning collaboratives to engage health center leaders in conducting organizational assessments, developing organizational-specific strategies to respond to needs, and share best practices for implementation.
Within the next few months, ACU will be accepting applications for our JEDI Champion Train-the-Trainer Pilot Program. We’ll be inviting individuals/teams from two health centers to participate in a two-day, in-person training to build the skills needed to facilitate and enhance JEDI efforts at their organizations. With the generous support of the Centene Corporation, we’ll be able to provide health centers with a stipend to cover travel expenses. This is a great opportunity to support the professional development of current and future JEDI leaders. The call for applications will be announced in our newsletter, Clinician and Community. Sign up to be informed and stay tuned!
We also invite you to be involved in this work in the following ways:
Apply to be a JEDI Committee member. ACU is establishing a JEDI Committee, made up of representatives from health centers that are leading JEDI efforts at their organizations. JEDI Committee members will share promising practices, help inform ACU’s JEDI work, and make recommendations for future work. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 25, 2022. Learn more and apply here.
Apply to be part of the JEDI Speakers Bureau. ACU wants to ensure a diversity of perspectives in its training offerings. We invite JEDI subject matter experts to apply to be part of our JEDI Speakers Bureau. This is an open application process and there is no deadline. Learn more and apply here.
Request training or technical assistance. Reach out if you need assistance in your organization’s JEDI efforts. We understand that every organization is at a different place in their JEDI journey. We will work with you to tailor assistance to meet your organization’s specific needs. Please send inquiries to Sabrina Edgington at firstname.lastname@example.org.