View summaries of health equity action plans developed by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services staff. These action plans were developed in the Health Equity Learning Labs between 2013 to 2016. Download Health Equity Learning Labs – Program and Policy Changes 2013-2016 (PDF) .

Video Examples

Please view these short videos for examples of work that is taking place within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to achieve health equity in our programs, policies and practices.

Women, Infant & Children (WIC) Webcast

“New Methods for Eliminating Racial Disparities in Michigan”
The webcast includes: 1) Overview of the PRIME initiative; 2) Data collection for small populations; 3) Native American PRAMS survey data collection methods; and 4) New approaches for using data to inform program outreach.

Division of Family and Community Health

Division of Family and Community Health video

Brenda Fink, Director, Division of Family & Community Health, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Epidemiology - Data Needs

Epidemiology - Data Needs video

Rebecca Coughlin, Epidemiologist, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Health Disparities Reduction & Minority Health Section

PRIME Definitions Video, presented by Sheryl Weir, Manager, Health Disparities Reduction & Minority Health Section, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Sheryl Weir, Manager, Health Disparities Reduction & Minority Health Section, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Ingham County's Health Equity and Social Justice Workshop

Presented by the Ingham County Health Department, the Health Equity and Social Justice (HESJ) workshops provide information on target and non-target groups, the four levels of oppression and change, and root causes of health inequities. The workshops argue that the need to address health inequities is grounded in social justice, a formative value of public health. Based in dialogue of difficult and uncomfortable topics, such as racism and unearned privilege, role-playing and small group exercises are used to promote discussion and critical thinking. Not only racism, but other forms of oppression which influence health outcomes are examined, such as discrimination based on class, sex, language, and sexual orientation.

As part of the PRIME Project, the HESJ workshops were deemed mandatory for all divisions within the Bureau of Family, Maternal, and Child Health (BFMCH), including the Women, Infants and Children Division, the Division of Family and Community Health, and Children's Special Health Care Services Division. The workshops were also offered to community members, especially members of the PRIME Local Learning Collaborative, to foster collaboration and dialogue between state and local organizations.

Six learning objectives for participants are identified for the HESJ workshops:

  1. Learn language and conceptual frameworks for engaging staff on the importance of adopting a health equity/social justice framework for public health. These will include "Target/Non-Target Identities," "Four Levels of Oppression and Change," "Health Disparity and Health Inequity," and "Social Determinants of Health."
  2. Explore the meaning of cultural identity across target and non-target groups.
  3. Understand the historical context of public health as a discipline invested in promoting social justice, and the current national effort to reclaim this legacy.
  4. Understand the necessity and value of addressing racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression explicitly as root causes of health inequity.
  5. Practice analyzing case studies in a social justice/health equity framework.
  6. Identify potential avenues and opportunities for advancing health equity through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

To date, the staff of the Division of Family and Community Health (DFCH) have completed their HESJ workshops and Women, Infants and Children Division (WIC) staff began their workshops in July, with 100 percent staff completion expected in September, 2012. To evaluate the impact of the workshops on DFCH staff, pre and post test surveys were administered to measure potential changes in knowledge, attitudes, competencies, and understanding of topics covered within these workshops. DFCH staff, who participated in 2011, showed significant increases in knowledge for 8 of 12 content knowledge questions. A majority of participants recognized this knowledge of racism and concepts of health equity, as well as the high quality of dialogue about these topics, as the most valuable outcome of these workshops. To view a complete copy of the report, click here (PDF). Results for the WIC workshops in 2012 are not yet available

Undoing Racism Workshop - The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond

To view the Poster click here

The Workshop

Within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Administration supported mandatory attendance by staff of the Division of Family and Community Health (DFCH) and the Division of Health Wellness and Disease Control (DHWDC) at Undoing Racism workshops led by The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. The successful training of 158 participants, reviewed racial privilege and the historical impact of institutional, cultural, and internalized racism on racial and ethnic disparities. A total of six 2-day workshops were provided during the summer of 2010. The intended outcomes of the trainings are to increase participants' understandings of and to identify strategies to address institutional and structural racism.

Pre-test and Post-test Results

Pre-test and post-test surveys, completed by participants, demonstrated increased competencies in defining key terms (e.g. institutional racism, internalized racism) and in identifying social determinants of health disparities and policies/practices that influence health disparities. Seventy-four percent of participants reported that they would recommend the Undoing Racism workshops without reservations.

Workshop evaluation questions showed that respondents felt more prepared and competent to address questions of racism, health disparities, and social determinants of health after attending the Undoing Racism Workshop. When applying these concepts to their jobs within MDCH, most respondents reported that this workshop helped them to become more aware of and better understand racial disparities, as well as helped them to better understand how their position was related to racial disparities. One theme that emerged was the need for increased communication with community partners and coworkers as one method to address racial disparities through MDCH and their daily work activities.

Participants identified increased self-awareness of their relation to racism and racial biases as a vulnerable outcome of the UR workshops. They also reported a strong desire to make personal changes to address racism after going through this workshop, and felt they increased their knowledge of the history of racism and the effect of historical policies on conditions today.

To view the results click here (PDF)

Focus Groups

In addition to a written evaluation of the Undoing Racism Workshops, three focus groups were also conducted one month after participants attended the workshop to better understand if/how lessons were applied in the work environment. A PRIME evaluation research team member facilitated each of the three focus groups. Each group answered five questions about the workshop. Answers were recorded, transcribed, and coded by a member of the PRIME evaluation research team. The five questions were:

  • What is your most memorable moment from the Undoing Racism Workshops?
  • When you returned to work did you talk to your colleagues about your experience in the workshops? And if you did, what did you talk about?
  • The Undoing Racism Workshop facilitators encouraged each of you to learn about different ways to think about racism, including cultural racism and institutional racism. What do those words mean to you now? And after going to the workshop?
  • What are some examples of policies and practices at your work setting that you think might be related to this idea of cultural or institutional racism?
  • What are some ways that policies and practices in your work setting could be changed to reduce cultural and institutional racism? What is it you imagine could feasibly happen here in your work setting?

After gathering responses, the evaluation team at the University of Michigan classified the data based on the emergence of meaningful themes. These themes will be studied and used to inform future training and staff development activities. More detailed information about the focus group results can be found here.