Exemplary Health Equity Practice Award

2019 Awardee | San Francisco Department of Public Health, Black African American Health Initiative

Since 2014, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has been running the Black/African American Health Initiative (BAAHI) to address selected health disparities in the local Black/African American community. The initiative has been innovative in two distinct ways: (1) The focus on inter-divisional coordination as a strategy, which has led to inclusion of a substantial community focus and patient involvement in clinical quality improvement; and (2) The explicit anti-racist and institutional focus of the initiative, which has necessitated the development of a broad racial equity infrastructure. The BAAHI structure includes workgroups that focus on a specific outcome and included joint leadership from the public health division and the health delivery system. Two groups have continued since their inception, hypertension and chlamydia, with a broad array of partners and a more direct consideration of racism than is typical for the department. A cultural humility workgroup made up of mostly Black/African American staff have also engaged staff in intensive training to normalize discussion of racism among leadership teams at all levels, which led to the creation of racial equity teams, councils and committees across the department, and ultimately the establishment of an equity infrastructure for SFDPH. Workforce development goals also contribute to making BAAHI a catalyst for broad internal transformation.

Ayanna Bennett, Director, Office of Equity, San Francisco Department of Public Health, accepts the Advancing Health Equity Award at a Dec. 3 ceremony in Oakland, CA. Photo courtesy of The California Endowment.

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