Health Equity Partnership
Participants move dialogue to action at NMHEP gathering.
New Mexico Health Equity Partnership
What is NMHEP?
The New Mexico Health Equity Partnership (NMHEP), managed by the Santa Fe Community Foundation, is comprised of partners affiliated with nonprofit organizations, foundations, health councils, PLACE MATTERS teams, Health Impact Assessment (HIA) teams, community groups, statewide organizations and national partners.
The purpose of the NMHEP is to strengthen the capacity of NM communities to shift power relations through advocating for systems and policy change that will improve the conditions where children, families, and communities are healthy. This requires addressing structural and institutionalized inequities based on race, class, gender and geography.
NMHEP’s national, state and local partner organizations working to advance health equity include: the Santa Fe Community Foundation, National Collaborative for Health Equity (Washington, DC), Human Impact Partners (Oakland, CA), New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils, Con Alma Health Foundation, NM Department of Health, NM Community Data Collaborative, local health councils, community partners engaging in Health Impact Assessment, local PLACE MATTERS teams (Bernalillo, McKinley, Doña Ana and San Juan counties) and their respective institutional homes. The NMHEP is generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
NMHEP’s values provide a firm basis for NMHEP’s strengths-based approach:
- Collaborative relationships are core to NMHEP’s goal, helping to foster inclusion, while leveraging maximum resources
- Peer-to-peer learning is the foundation of NMHEP’s knowledge base
- Community knowledge is highly valued – community members directly impacted by health inequities are the experts
- Decision-making is shared and made collectively and transparently
- Voices and participation of all groups directly affected by actions should be at the table from the planning to implementation
- Community members most directly affected by a proposed action are meaningfully engaged and hold active leadership roles at each stage of the process
NMHEP Tools, Strategies and Approaches
NMHEP is committed to:
- Strengthening the PLACE MATTERS teams in Bernalillo, Doña Ana, San Juan and McKinley communities to advance health equity through policy change. PLACE MATTERS is a national initiative designed to build the capacity of local leaders around the country to improve the conditions, where we work, live and play, which shape health.
- Mobilizing communities and building effective coalitions to strengthen health councils’ and community partners’ health equity efforts. Health councils work with communities to address important local health issues and have developed assessments of local health needs and resources.
- Training county/tribal health councils, PLACE MATTERS teams and community groups in HIA. Local HIA teams work with community members to make a judgment about how a proposed plan or policy will affect health. HIA takes into consideration the current health status of a community, predicts how this will change if a proposed plan or policy is implemented and provides recommendations based on community knowledge, stories and quantitative data to inform and improve decision making processes.
Community Informed Policy Decision Making Processes
The NMHEP and our local partners are committed to ensuring that community members are actively part of policy and planning decision making processes that directly impact our health. It is important that community members have a voice in decision making processes regarding the quality of housing, education, transportation, food and work environments in our communities. Local PLACE MATTERS teams, HIA teams, and health councils identify priority community issues; develop solutions using community strengths; and craft collaborative action among diverse partners. The NMHEP and our national and state partners support local PLACE MATTERS teams, HIA teams, and health councils through coordination of regional and statewide gatherings and trainings.
Peer to Peer Learning, Leadership and Community Engagement
NMHEP honors the assets, leadership skills and experiences of communities across New Mexico and works to create spaces and processes that foster genuine relationships, strengthen cross-community partnerships, and encourage peer to peer learning. Local team members and community leaders serve on committees with the NMHEP team to plan trainings and gatherings. They work to determine the content based on local community needs and identify peers to serve as speakers, panelists, moderators, hosts, openers, closers, and activity leads. At the gatherings, local team members and community leaders facilitate small group activities; engage in community conversations about issues that directly affect their health; share community narratives, knowledge, and expertise; and work together to implement effective solutions that reflect New Mexico’s diverse values and cultures. Local community members have expressed that before attending a NMHEP sponsored gathering they had not served as a presenter or moderator; yet, by doing so, they strengthen their leadership skills and go on to use their voice and skills to benefit their community.