My work is grounded in listening, integrity, and justice. The ways these values manifest in practice can look different across place and time, and my understanding of their depths is always evolving. When I think about these values, I come back to a few ideas:
- Integrity. Creating change requires accountability in all stages of the process. Integrity involves defining what ethical principles look like in practice, adhering to those principles, and being open to feedback and critique.
- Listening. Surfacing stories, data, and ideas requires intentional listening, especially to people whose power is not always recognized or valued. The process and outcomes of listening, through diverse channels and sources, can help to build trust between people and in systems.
- Justice. Advancing equity requires fighting for justice. This requires seeing and challenging power structures that perpetuate oppression. It means being anti-racist, feminist, and intersectional, and includes environmental, social, economic, and political frames.
With the goal of advancing health equity, I bring the tools and lenses of public health and social work to the process of strengthening policies, systems, and environments. My approach starts with understanding community priorities and experiences, alongside the strengths and forms of power that communities already hold. I synthesize thoughtfully collected data to elevate and complement community voice. Depending on the situation, I work with diverse stakeholders to assess community health and environments, to co-design program or policy interventions, to facilitate strategic planning efforts, to manage change and improve quality, or to evaluate outcomes.
The conceptual model for my work revolves around the social determinants of health: that is, the social, economic, political, and environmental conditions in which people live and grow, and which in turn influence their health outcomes. These conditions are not random. Rather, they are shaped by the distribution of power and resources in society, which is in turn shaped by root causes like racism, sexism, and classism that are deeply embedded in the structure of our laws, policies, and institutions.
I am interested in the power of community-based programming and organizing to influence policy and systems change. I am constantly learning from teachers and thinkers, both formal and informal, and I draw on theory and research to inform my understanding and approach. I am especially influenced by asset-based community development, critical race theory, and intersectional feminism, and by community-based participatory research methods, improvement science, social epidemiology, and community-based system dynamics.