Addressing Structural Oppression

National Health Corps (NHC) is committed to its vision of a nation where all people have the access to services and knowledge necessary to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. NHC is not only committed to eliminating health inequities, but also to eliminating the oppressive structures* that cause them. In this commitment, we strive to represent diversity and inclusiveness and we join in a shared vision of a commitment to action. We are holding ourselves accountable through ongoing equity impact assessments of all components of our program, including collecting and analyzing demographic data to ensure we increase representation of and retain historically underrepresented populations. We value the unique capabilities, experiences, and identities each employee, member, and community member contributes to our program. National Health Corps also recognizes past inequities in the history of the United States and specifically in the U.S. health system. We are addressing these inequities so our future world includes diversity of all kind that is visible, embraced and celebrated.

*Structural oppression: the multiplicity of ways that white/cisgender/heteronormative/ableist supremacy oppresses society, as well as the systematic and systemic ways that privilege is used to produce or reproduce inequities.
Strategic Plan

Over an eight-month period between June 2020-January 2021, National Health Corps created a three-year program strategic and action plan that has a razor focus on  priorities and strategies aimed at reducing and eliminating structural oppression. The plan was co-created by NHC staff, members, alumni, host site partners, service partners, and the wider public. 

You can access the NHC 2021-2023 Strategic/Action Plan here.

Service

National Health Corps has expanded its program design to not only reduce/eliminate health disparities, but also to focus on reducing/eliminating the oppressive systems that cause health disparities, which includes AmeriCorps 2021 priority area of removing structural racial inequities, advancing racial equality, and increasing opportunities in order to achieve sustainable change in communities.

In this regard, in the 2021 program year,  all 139 NHC positions will include at least 15% of members' time spent on activities focused directly on reducing/eliminating structural oppression at NHC host sites.

Training

NHC provides cultural responsibility trainings and reflective activities to all members throughout the service term. The goal of the trainings and activities are for all NHC members to demonstrate appreciation and respect for people across all dimensions of identity, and to adapt behaviors to see and accept those who have perspectives and experiences different from their own. Throughout the service term, members  challenge themselves and others to examine and address structural oppression and bias and the ways it contributes to health disparities. Members explore their own privilege and take active steps to increase equity in all service and community settings to  create an inclusive, trusting, respectful community for all.

Required trainings include: 

  • Structural Racism Against Black Americans
  • Structural Racism Against Indigenous People
  • Cultural responsibility overview

  • Culturally responsible practice with two relevant cultural/ethnic populations in NHC service communities

  • Race and public health in the United States

  • Sexual orientation, gender identity, and public health in the United States

    Examples of some trainings held in 2020-2021 include: 
    • Race, Placemaking, and Health in Chicago
    • Food Insecurity and Health
    • Intersectionality & the Policing of Black Bodies in the United States
    • Anti-Racism and Impact on Racial Injustice in Medicine
    • Racism Across Public Health Systems & Impacts on Health Disparities and Outcomes
    • Identity, Power, and Oppression
    • Racism in Healthcare and Unconscious Bias
    • Creating Affirming Environments and Support LGBTQ+ patients
    • Trauma-Informed Care