PRIME: Health Equity Learning Lab Pilot Series


“[It was] incredibly important that the end game was a plan to change something in the real world – made it all mean something and drove home that it is possible to make changes in our lives.” – Learning Lab Participant

This first version of the Learning Lab series was piloted with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Division in 2012-2013. It was developed in partnership with the Center for Health Equity for Mothers and Children at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. The series was designed to help participants incorporate a social determinants of health framework into their daily work and to use data to inform organizational programs, policies, and practices.

Learning Lab Goals
Develop a culture within the WIC Division that promotes and never inhibits equity
Increase staff sensitivity and awareness about their role in equity
Develop proficiency so that staff will not wait for health equity opportunities, but will develop opportunities

Format and Content

Across the three labs, participants develop personal portfolios for reflection and in groups create a health equity action plan tailored to their division. Work on these plans includes a discussion of the Brooks Equity Typology.

The Learning Labs are held over three separate 12-hour labs, each delivered as three half-day sessions. The total 36 hours of training are structured around 10 iterative lessons. It is recommended to have 30 participants per round.

For details of the lessons included in each Learning Lab, see page 55 of the PRIME Guide for Public Health Professionals.

Evaluation Process and Findings

Participants showed increases in many self-confidence ratings. In open-ended comments, they suggested the learning labs increased their willingness to address health equity issues and provided them with tools and information to do so. They also suggested a desire for leadership support to guide them.

For additional details, see the PRIME Guide for Public Health Professionals. For examples of the survey tools, see the pre-post tests for Learning Lab 1, Learning Lab 2, and Learning Lab 3.

Lesson Learned – It is strongly recommended that learning lab participants include members of the community who use the agency’s services and who are part of populations designated as “health disparity populations.” If not, then it is recommended that they are consulted to develop the learning lab activities.

Review information on WIC Equity Plans (PDF).