query: health organizing

colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Tue Sep 9 21:03:19 CDT 2003


[ed:  thanks to Makani for respondign to Fred's query.  The Praxis 
Project is now linked from the COMM-ORG "Health Organizing" 
page.]

From: "Makani Themba-Nixon" <mthemba at thepraxisproject.org>

Hi!

I'm responding to a post forwarded to me re: health organizing.  More on 
our organization is down below FYI.

Perhaps the central organization focusing on health disparities is 
Summit Health Institute for Research and Education Tel: 202.371.0277, 
shire at shireinc.org

Closing the Gap Initiatives, many of which SHIRE helped launch at the 
state level, is an Office of Minority Health (CDC/HHS) project that 
funds dozens of community-based initiatives nationwide.  Many state 
departments of health list the CBOs involved in local campaigns like NC 
does at:

www.omhhd.dhhs.state.nc.us/omhhd/OMH_Initiatives/ OHMInitiativesPage.htm

In most cases, the state has created an Office of Minority Health or a 
special office on disparities where this information is.

Many of these groups are not engaged in traditional organizing (though 
most are likely to argue the point.)  Most of the groups that are 
engaged in traditional organizing aren't usually funded by these 
agencies and would not necessarily describe their work as "health 
disparities".  These are mostly the groups we work with.  A few groups:

Tenant Workers Support Committee in Alexandria, VA (works on access to 
care, interpreters, etc.)
jliss at twsc.org

Northwest Federation of Community Organizations (NWFCO) is a regional 
network comprised of four statewide organizing groups in Washington, 
Montana, Oregon and Idaho.  They have a Health Rights Project that is 
extremely active at the state and federal levels.  www.nwfco.org

Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment 
(CCSAPT) in Los Angeles mobilizes their broad, South Los Angeles base on 
a number of quality of life issues with a strong emphasis on health.
www.ccsapt.org

Our work at Praxis focuses on capacity building and tools for health 
justice. We help groups develop (mostly local) policy initiatives, 
community-based research, and other forms of assistance to hold 
institutions accountable and change the policies and practices that 
create health inequities.  In addition, we have been developing tools 
for groups to use to help identify organizing campaigns and policy 
initiatives to address these issues.

In our analysis, too much of the "disparities" work has focused on 
changing behavior -- putting more pressure on victims of systemic 
neglect (and worse) to adapt. (i.e., get your loved one to the doctor 
whether or not there's health insurance, eat five fruits and vegetables 
a day whether or not there's a nearby grocery store, etc.)  Little 
research or focus is on the role of institutions and policies in 
creating both problems and patterns of privilege.  Of course, there are 
many others who share this analysis.  I'm sure most folk on this list.

If you'd like more information on groups or us, please feel free to 
contact me, my info is below.

best,

makani

Makani Themba-Nixon, Executive Director
mthemba at thepraxisproject.org

The Praxis Project
www.thepraxisproject.org
1750 Columbia Road, NW
Second Floor
Washington, DC 20009 USA
Voice: +1(202) 234-5921
Fax: +1(202) 234-2689


> .
> [ed:  please feel welcomed to copy COMM-ORG with your 
> responses to Fred's query.  A quick reference from me below.]
> 
> From: Fred Smith <smith009 at umn.edu>
> 
> Any recommendations  of names or publications dealing with 
> community-driven campaigns to address health disparities in 
> racial-ethnic communities would be much appreciated and put to 
> good use. 
>  Thanks very much.
> 
> [ed:  the COMM-ORG health organizing page, http://comm-
> org.utoledo.edu/health.htm, may be of help here.]
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