Educating and Training Staff on the Principles of Health Equity
Some rural providers and public health practitioners may benefit from opportunities to receive education and
training on health equity. Education can focus on a range of topics, such as the historical basis of health
inequities, implicit bias, cultural humility, culturally and
linguistically appropriate services (CLAS), and strategies for engaging with communities that have
experienced inequities, among many others. Training can focus on increasing knowledge, informing practices, and
gaining tools and techniques to advance health equity. Training and education opportunities can support staff
who directly engage with communities that experience health inequities.
Training can enable staff to:
Learn from one another and reflect on health equity topics
Explore how to talk about health equity, such as with colleagues, community members, and other
Define key concepts of health equity — including any shared definitions for health equity
used by the organization, partnership, coalition, or agency
Understand the difference between health equity, health
disparities, and the social determinants of health
Increase awareness of the root causes of health equity and the unique factors driving inequities in the
Build capacity to engage with communities that experience health inequities
Collect accurate data from patients, such as race, ethnicity, and language (REaL) data or social
determinants of health assessments
One free resource is the Roots of Health
Inequity training and online learning collaborative from the National Association of County and City
Health Officials. The training offers individual and group learning opportunities for local public health
Examples of Rural Communities Providing Training to Advance Health Equity
In rural Minnesota, Rice County Public Health staff
participated in training on cultural competency to learn how to better serve immigrant communities. After
initial cultural competency training opened conversations about health equity in the department, Rice County
Public Health offered additional staff training and coaching on health equity with grant funding from the
Public Health National Center for Innovations.
In rural Oregon, St. Charles
Madras implemented a pilot project to better serve the needs of their American Indian and Latino
patients. St. Charles Madras invited leaders from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to speak about
transcultural care and how inpatient providers can better care for American Indian patients. The hospital
also made permanent changes to expectations around training by requiring participation in cultural
competency activities in nursing job descriptions. The Critical Access Hospital funded its pilot with a
Small Rural Hospital Improvement Project grant from the Oregon Office of Rural Health.
The West Marion Inc. is
working with local rural hospitals in North Carolina to offer training about diversity and inclusion.
Open communication, transparency, and trust are necessary for productive conversations about health equity in
the workplace. Staff members who have experienced inequities need to feel safe about sharing their lived
experiences. Rural organizations may benefit from engaging an external trainer or consultant to help guide staff
through education and training and to facilitate discussions about equity topics. The National Institutes of
Health offers resources
on navigating crucial conversations about race in the workplace.
Organizations may also consider opportunities to hold staff accountable for participating in training
activities. For example, they can make health equity trainings part of the employee onboarding process or
integrating health equity topics into existing organizational training requirements.
In addition to addressing general health equity topics like power and racism, trainings can focus on a wide
range of communities that experience inequities. These could include people with disabilities, people who are
experiencing homelessness, people with limited health literacy, and LGBTQ+ communities, among many others.
Questions for Consideration
What do staff know about health equity?
What are the training goals and needs of staff related to health equity?
Where does training fit in the organization's overall goals for health equity? How will staff apply what
they learn to their work?
Who will deliver the training? What follow-up and support will be available to staff?
How will staff be evaluated over time to assess how they are applying the training?
Program Clearinghouse Examples
Resources to Learn More
Health Equity and
Social Justice 101 Online Training Series
Provides a three-part video series that discusses issues like structural racism, intersectionality, and stories
from the field.
Organization(s): National Association of County and City Health Officials
Health Equity Training
Offers three modules on health equity that provide an introduction, a discussion of power, and suggestions for
operationalizing health equity.
Organization(s): University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
Health Equity Trainings
Offers self-paced resources, webinars and videos, web resources, and documents from public health departments
and other organizations.
Organization(s): Center for Public Health Practice, Colorado School of Public Health
Training Spotlight: Diversity and
Provides trainings based on the four core factors of the Health Equity Framework: systems of power,
relationships and networks, individual factors, and physiological pathways.
Organization(s): MCH Navigator, National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, Georgetown