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Rural Health Information Hub

Technical Assistance to Advance Health Equity

Rural communities may require hands-on guidance when it comes to developing and implementing tailored strategies to improve community health and advance health equity. Technical assistance and training can increase organizational capacity and enable communities to use their lived experience to plan and implement a program that reflects a shared goal or vision. Attending conferences or webinars and receiving coaching or expert consultations are a few ways rural communities can receive technical assistance. HEARR facilitates conversations about equity in rural communities. The initiative uses a framework for equitable collaboration developed by the University of Virginia's Institute for Engagement Negotiation (IEN), which supports HEARR. IEN's Transforming Community Spaces: A Toolkit on Equitable Collaboration provides rural communities with step-by-step considerations for implementing an equitable collaboration framework. The toolkit discusses preparing for, designing, and conducting engagement processes.

Technical assistance can also help community leaders gain insight and skill-building knowledge in key areas like forming effective partnerships, cross-sector collaboration, meeting facilitation, and program planning and implementation. For instance, the Executive Director of West Marion Inc., partnered with the consultancy Equitable Community Strategies to deepen skills and knowledge related to meeting facilitation, community building, and fundraising.

Technical assistance can also help programs advancing health equity to make evaluation and sustainability plans. For example, the coalitions of the Two Georgias Initiative receive substantial technical assistance related to equity and sustainability. The Georgia Health Initiative (formerly the Healthcare Georgia Foundation) collaborated with the Partnership for Southern Equity, which offered expertise in community organizing, community building, and coalition development. The Partnership for Southern Equity helped coalitions incorporate equity into their plans. The Georgia Health Initiative also provided coalitions with community health coaches to help with meeting planning and facilitation. In addition, grantees participated in workshops on sustainability and capacity building.

Module 2 provides additional information about capacity building to advance health equity.

Resources to Learn More

Expert Help & Training: Technical Assistance
Lists federal agencies and initiatives providing technical assistance to rural organizations wishing to develop capacity for addressing a variety of community needs.
Organization(s): Rural Community Toolbox

Health Equity Technical Assistance
Lists resources including mapping tools, guides, and trainings to help healthcare organizations advance health equity.
Organization(s): Office of Minority Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Investing in Rural Communities to Achieve Health Equity
Insights from the director and evaluator of the Two Georgias Initiative. Discusses the importance of providing technical assistance.
Organization(s): Grantmakers in Health
Date: 7/2020