The Board of Directors of the National Health Law Program is proud to join with NHeLP staff in announcing the publication of NHeLP’s Equity Stance. The Equity Stance addresses NHeLP’s understanding of the ways in which racism and other forms of discrimination affect health and recognizes how central the fight against discrimination is to our overarching goal of advancing health equity. The Equity Stance announced today reflects deep conversations that began in October, 2018 and have included every member of NHeLP staff and the Board. This work will continue, as NHeLP strives to embed equity into every aspect of its operations and work.
NHeLP’s equity work stemmed from the organization’s own determination to be a place where a diverse staff thrives. The resulting Strategic Plan, which the Board approved in early 2017, commits the organization to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in three ways: to “cultivate an environment that empowers an exceptional and diverse staff;” to draw from NHeLP’s internal DEI work to “articulate . . . issues [of race, equity and power] externally;” and to “create and [implement] a plan to recruit a racially and ethnically diverse Board.”
NHeLP hired a nationally-recognized consultant, who interviewed every staff member, four Board members and four former staff members and made recommendations of areas on which NHeLP could focus its DEI work. With the Board’s full support, NHeLP has invested substantial money and time in addressing all of the consultant’s recommendations. The organization has made progress in enhancing, among other things, its hiring, training, communications, and assignment processes. And it has created comprehensive internal structures to carry out DEI work and internal “ground rules” to facilitate effective and respectful communications among staff.
The Board has closely monitored NHeLP’s efforts and is fully satisfied with NHeLP’s commitment to making equity an integral part of its internal culture. The Board has also participated in NHeLP’s DEI work. Over the last two years, Board members have participated in trainings led by DEI experts, so that they can partner effectively with NHeLP in advancing equity internally and externally and so that the Board will attract the diverse leaders it seeks to recruit.
The National Health Law Program is a powerful and essential organization, and we are proud to serve on its Board. At a time when the Administration seems to be waging a war against adequate health care for low income people, against reproductive rights, and even against children, NHeLP’s work is vital to the future of our country. No other organization does all that we do. No one marshals the level of commitment, expertise, and skill that NHeLP consistently brings to bear in championing the health care rights of the underserved.
The Board of Directors of the National Health Law Program
Robert N. Weiner, Chair
The National Health law Program’s Equity Stance can be viewed here.
A PDF version of this letter signed by Board Chair Robert Weiner can be accessed here.