The Connecticut Health Foundation Leadership Fellows: Achieving Health Equity

The following guest post is by Elizabeth Krause, Senior Program Officer and Director of the Health Leadership Fellows program, and Jenn Whinnem, Communications Officer and Class of 2012 Fellow at the Connecticut Health Foundation.

Every Connecticut resident should have access to quality health care. But it’s not that simple. Because of language and cultural barriers, inherent societal bias, and other factors, health disparities exist in racial and ethnic populations, even when there is ready access to health care.

Because the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) is committed to ending health disparities, every year, we select up to 20 diverse individuals to participate in our Health Leadership Fellows program to build public will for health equity.

While there are many leadership development programs across the country, what makes our program unique is our commitment to developing the leadership skills of people of color who are working on this issue in Connecticut. The focus on health equity provides a real-world context for skill development for a group whose leadership contributions have historically been under recognized.

Let’s face it: the rising tide does not lift all ships. Connecticut needs strong potential leaders of color to advance the issue of health equity. Our network includes 140 fellows who are ready, willing, and able to act as opportunities arise. We cultivate our leaders by providing opportunities where they can:

  • Learn from state and national health leaders, policy-makers, trainers, and their peers
  • Develop an understanding of the theory behind systems change as part of realizing health equity (rather than addressing equity issues one person at a time)
  • Discover their own personal leadership style and how to work with other styles in multi-disciplinary coalitions
  • Communicate with strategic, values-based messaging to effectively influence others around this issue
  • Expand their professional network across sectors and industries.

We’re interested in leaders from all walks of life – healthcare, education, business, community. Our strongest requirements are a passion for achieving health equity and commitment to learning whether you are an emerging or seasoned professional.

Don’t just take it from me. Our Principal Consultant Heidi Brooks shares what you can expect – even on the first day! – as a participant in the program:

Hear the Class of 2012 talk about what drew them to the program, and read about some of the projects from the 2011 Class.

Are you excited yet? If yes, your written application form and a third-party recommendation letter are due by April 2, 2012. Visit this page to learn more!

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