Step 1: Commit Leadership

Committed individuals from any discipline or role can get the process started – the keys to success are partnerships, inclusion and diversity of perspectives. There must be both top-down and bottom-up leadership in the implementation team, with people at all levels of the organization engaged in the work. Including the perspectives of people or communities of people with lived experiences of inequities relevant to your context is important. Discussing the nature of change, “leadership drivers”, and the stages of implementation is a useful initial conversation.

You can start “taking stock” of where you are at simultaneous with getting diverse people on board to lead the effort. The leadership team, comprised of people from diverse roles and including people with lived experiences of inequities will contribute to taking stock and start moving toward priorities for action.

Having committed leadership for equity will help to ensure that you have the minimum requirements for action in place. At this point, it’s useful to review EQUIP’s ‘minimum requirements’ for equity-oriented care – these are the things that you must have in place for success.

Minimum requirements for equity-oriented care

  • Support from the executive level of the organization
  • Resources to allow staff representatives from diverse roles to meet on a regular basis over a minimum of a year (a leading working group of 6-8 seems to work well; meeting monthly seems to maintain momentum)
  • A leader with line authority committed to working directly and consistently with the working group
  • Resources for all staff to participate in education (e.g., our online learning modules take ~ 5-7 non-consecutive hours), and regular opportunities for interprofessional conversations about integrating and applying education in everyday practices and organizational policy
  • Resources for formalized and authentic strategies for seeking and incorporating ideas and feedback from communities and people who have experiences of trauma, violence, stigma, racism and discrimination, and who are willing to share their expertise with a view to contributing to change processes