The OMNI Institute recognizes that historical, cultural, structural, and social factors profoundly shape outcomes for communities and individuals.
It is our responsibility as social scientists to reflect and address this in every facet of our work. Equitable research, evaluation, and capacity building require us to continually learn, listen, and strive to ensure our work is ethical, culturally responsive, community-informed, and yields valid and actionable data.
OMNI’s approach is situated within authentic client relationships, allowing us to tailor our services to support equity-focused issues across diverse urban and rural communities and within complex local contexts.
In all our work, we seek to apply an equity lens that allows and forces us to critically evaluate our own roles, actions, and responsibilities.
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Bringing diverse and varied experience in health equity
Our work spans topics in public and behavioral health, always considering the impacts of public health outcomes on historically underrepresented populations. Our work has covered such topics as the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and tobacco use with the Colorado Black Health Collaborative and the development of the Health Equity Toolkit for Rural and Remote Communities with actionable resources to guide organizations in building local capacity for equity.
How we integrate equity practices in our work
We consider the experiences, perspectives, and needs of different populations and communities at every stage of our work. This means:
The questions we ask (and examining the embedded assumptions, values, or frames behind the questions themselves),
the outcomes we define,
the methods, processes, and measures we use,
the analyses we conduct, and
our interpretation of findings.
We recognize the critical importance of ongoing community representation and engagement, which is not only in the interest of community empowerment and ownership but is critical to ensuring our work is valid and informed.
We are sensitive to the legitimate concerns and risks of being ‘studied’ such as the fear of exposure for undocumented populations, and some LGBTQ individuals, and legitimate distrust among populations that have historically been exploited and abused in the name of ‘research.’
We own our privilege as researchers and are willing to acknowledge when we need help, when we make mistakes, and to take responsibility for applying our learning toward individual and organizational improvement and growth.
We recognize and honor community strengths and resilience in tandem with striving to document and address inequity.
Case Study | Health Equity Toolkit for Rural and Remote Communities
Rural and remote public health departments often face disproportionate underfunding and a lack of reliable and sufficient data to examine health disparities. With funding support from the Telligen Foundation, our leadership and development team created the “Health Equity Toolkit for Rural and Remote Communities” with concrete action steps to help rural and remote public health departments increase their capacity to advance health equity within their unique communities. Learn more about the creation of the Toolkit in the case study.