Initiative: Health Equity Organizing

IAF Northwest Health Equity Organizing initiative addresses the the social determinants of health, the non-medical factors that influence our health and wellbeing in the acknowledgement that there is more to health than medical care. Health inequities that are influenced by race, age and more create systemic barriers for people who deserve just and adequate care. To achieve Health Equity, we work with health clinics, residency programs, and students to use community organizing tools and practices to address the social determinants of health in our communities. 


Dr. Manriquez with students

IAF Northwest worked with students and faculty/staff allies at the University of Washington, who saw health equity and the skills of community organizing as essential to their education and development. This led to the building of the non-profit organization Health Equity Circle.  HEC now works alongside our affiliate Alliances, where our leaders support and advance Health Equity. 

The Work: 

In Health Equity organizing, we work with students in residency programs and community clinics that serve vulnerable and at risk populations. Student residents receive 4 hours of training per month in the fundamentals of community organizing in health equity and public health. Students engage with patients to support or identify the barriers they experience in realizing positive health outcomes. 

To further the advancement of Health Equity, Clinic Organizer positions were created to support clinic based organizing efforts. Clinic Organizers build the clinic’s capacity by creating relationships with patients, staff and community partners to identify the systemic issues affecting the community’s health. Once the issues have been identified, the Clinic Organizers work to build the community’s capacity to act for change.

For more information on our partners of Health Equity Organizing: Health Equity Circle Chapters