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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
August 27, 2019 

The OMNI Institute Releases “The Health Equity Toolkit for Rural And Remote Communities”

The Toolkit Supports Rural and Remote Public Health Departments to Increase Their Capacity to Advance Health Equity Within Their Organizations

(DENVER) – The OMNI Institute released the “Health Equity Toolkit for Rural and Remote Communities,” a unique learning curriculum designed to aid rural public health departments in their effort to improve health equity within their organizations. The creation of the Toolkit was a partnership between the OMNI Institute, Pitkin County Public Health, and Silver Thread Public Health District, and generously funded by the Telligen Community Initiative. OMNI and its partners are grateful to the many researchers in the equity field whose work and existing resources OMNI built upon during the creation of this Toolkit.

 Toolkit Details

OMNI created the Toolkit in response to the growing health equity resource gap that exists in rural communities. The Toolkit was piloted in Aspen, Colo. by Pitkin County Public Health and in Creede, and Lake City, Colo. by the Silver Thread Public Health District. Guided by the expertise of the community partners, the development of the toolkit was an iterative process that incorporated ongoing feedback and reflections as sessions were developed and piloted within community settings.

 “Participating in this project gave our team the opportunity to work through what health equity means for us,” said Risa Turetsky, MPH, FNP-C, PHN, Health Promotion Program Administrator at Pitkin County Public Health. “We not only started to open up some truly meaningful conversations internally, but the depth of the materials created gave us the opportunity to realize where we still had gaps in our team's understanding and to be able to start to work through them.”

 Included in the five-module curriculum are concrete action steps for public health departments with materials that include slide decks, a facilitator guide, detailed notes, handouts, homework, and resources. The curriculum is easily adapted for utilization in rural communities across the country, as well as with other organizations in the public sector.

 "It works! Not only did the process of building the Toolkit together help shift the culture of our own organization, but working with the modules has already played a crucial role in helping us arrive at a shared definition of health equity for our organization,” said Isaac Grody-Patinkin, Community Educator at Silver Thread Public Health District. “I can’t wait for this Toolkit to find its way into the hands of public health organizations across the country.” 

 The Toolkit is designed to encourage exploration of the emotional and unconscious side of equity work.

“Introspection and self-analysis can be challenging, especially in a professional context. It is essential to dig into the whole-person-centered side of the work to really understand how inequity persists in health care. We have to be able to process the emotional aspects of talking about inequity. This includes uncovering ways in which our actions, our organization’s actions, and the world we live in have caused harm to others in our community,” said Ona Crow, Regional Consultant at the OMNI Institute and a primary author of the Toolkit. “Starting here, we can then work toward making systemic, lasting change.”

 The Toolkit will be presented at the Public Health in the Rockies conference on August 29, 2019 in Keystone, Colo.

 To Access the Toolkit

The Toolkit is for rural and remote public health departments that want to increase their internal capacity around health equity and can be utilized by others in the social services sector with some adaptation. The Toolkit can be co-facilitated by internal staff or an external facilitator. Those interested in downloading the Toolkit can visit omni.org/health-equity-toolkit .

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The OMNI Institute is a nonprofit social science consultancy that provides integrated research and evaluation, capacity building, and data utilization services to accelerate positive social change. OMNI works across three primary domains: Public and Behavioral Health, Human Development, and Adult and Juvenile Justice, and has honed a service delivery model focused on rigorous research and application of best practices, authentic engagement with our clients and their stakeholders, and the cross-systems expertise and insights needed to address complex social issues. We operate by our four core values: Excellence in our work, Agility in our approach, Inquiry to uncover the best possible solutions to challenges, and a true Connection to our clients and the communities they serve. Learn more at omni.org.

Pitkin County Public Health works to ensure the health of people who live, work and play within Pitkin County, a rural resort community of almost 18,000 residents on the Western Slope of Colorado. Pitkin County Public Health works with local communities to promote health and prevent disease by protecting and enhancing environments, policies, and systems that support positive outcomes for everyone. Working from the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to live long, healthy lives, regardless of their income, education, or ethnic background, Pitkin County Public Health collaborates across sectors on innovative solutions to promote the health of our local communities and to ensure health equity.

Silver Thread Public Health District is the public health hub for Hinsdale and Mineral counties in the heart of the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado.  From providing vaccines to ensuring access to clean water, from our social service programs to our food bank, and dismantling the root causes that drive inequities in our communities, Silver Thread Public Health is rooted in our relationships and our sense of place. In the remote landscapes of our communities we have to depend on each other. We are committed to creating a culture of belonging for everyone, whether you’re visiting us for a weekend or have been here for generations. Whoever you are, wherever you come from, whoever you pray to or vote for, whoever you love, however you look on the outside, whatever abilities and disabilities you hold in your body, we are committed to the Silver Thread Public Health District being a place where you can thrive.

Telligen Community Initiative (TCI) is the charitable foundation of Telligen, Inc., a private, nonprofit healthcare intelligence company. Since its inception in 2005, TCI has provided financial grants to support projects and organizations that strive to improve the health of communities which Telligen serves. TCI’s overall goal is to ensure opportunities for health are available and accessible to everyone. The foundation provides funding to health-related projects and organizations in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado. For more information about TCI, please visit www.telligenci.org