NRHI’s Emerging Leaders Council (ELC) Honors National Minority Health Month

By Lizette Rivera, Project Manager, and Jolie Ritzo, Director of Partnerships & Programs, Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement

NRHI’s Emerging Leaders Council (ELC), a committee aimed to support and foster the skills of rising leaders by providing opportunities for professional development and a deeper understanding of the NRHI network, meets every month to hold an interactive space to learn from each other and to engage on the important work members are doing across the nation. In April, the ELC met with a directed focus to share personal experiences and organizational actions and resources focused on National Minority Health Month.

NRHI’s 30+ members have different backgrounds, strengths, and regional focuses but one of the central themes across the membership is advancing health equity. NRHI’s guiding principles state:

We commit to advancing health equity for all.

Everyone should be given the opportunity to attain their highest level of health, and to achieve this we need to value all people, optimize conditions where people are born, grow, live, work, learn, and age, and name racism as a key barrier. We need to work collaboratively across stakeholders and sectors to effectively address structural, social, and political factors that influence health.

During the ELC’s April meeting, members not only shared personal experiences and ways to honor National Minority Health Month, but also brought forward examples of ways their organizations are advancing health equity. Fostering this kind of shared learning and exchange of resources is critically important as we strengthen commitments to health equity and improving health for all. Here are just a few examples of what was exchanged:

  • Comagine Health:
    • Emilie Sites, ELC Chair, shared information on Comagine Health’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging training for their staff. The training is intended to ensure an equitable work environment and demonstrates the organization’s pledge to better reflect the communities they serve and hold themselves accountable to this work.
  • Common Ground Health:
    • Melissa Wendland, ELC member, announced that on April 24th, Common Ground Health hosted a health equity conference– Speak Life! Second Health Equity Conference: Healing through Action!The event was planned by the African American and Latino Health Coalitions, which are convened by Common Ground Health. The free event was offered simultaneously in English, Spanish and American Sign Language.
  • Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC):
    • GDAHC actively participated in promoting and sharing resources for Black Maternal Health Week. Lisa Braddix, ELC member, also shared her participation and role with Alpha Kappa Alpha and provided information about their Mississippi Health Project, which is outlined in the newly released documentary called Twenty Pearls
  • Heath Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz:
    • Maritza Lara, ELC member, shared reflections about a leadership series designed for BILPOC leaders that she and her team attended. The first session called Leading Change in a “but this is how we’ve always done it” Culture provided a space for deep discussion about race, trauma, and healing in the workplace. Maritza shared that one way the Health Improvement Partnership seeks to advance its anti-racist commitment is by providing EDI professional development opportunities for its multicultural team.

  • Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) /Jewish Healthcare Foundation:

“the article continues to underscore how racism and structural systems of oppression have historically been embedded in medicine even outside the context of direct care. Something I noted in the findings was that of the limited articles that included racism, a vast majority – almost all – were commentary-type of articles. That goes back to how it’s been treated as an “opinion” versus “factual evidence” based on rigorous study.”

  • Stratis Health
    • Stratis launched a Diversity, Inclusion, & Advancement training for their staff that targets not only their leadership but to all departments. Sarah Brinkman, ELC Member, is actively participating in the training. Sarah also announced that Stratis revamped their Culture Care Connection website to not only provide text and data but resources to help turn the content into action.

Stay in the Know – How the NRHI Network is Advancing Health Equity

NRHI is fortunate to have an innovative and passionate group of leaders within the ELC. This group has the opportunity to hear from inside staff at NRHI member organizations and to thoughtfully offer in-depth insight of their work and engagement with their community. The Network’s work on advancing health equity does not stop here. We have made commitments at the board level and apply an equity lens to our programming and communications. Visit NRHI’s Health Equity page to learn more about what NRHI and our members are doing all year long to support and make a difference for equitable health improvement across the nation. 


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