Just Health Special Project

Equity isn't a what, but a way...

…and sometimes that way goes beyond our three main work areas of Just Energy, Just Growth and Just Opportunity. Most recently Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) developed and added the Just Health Special Project – a health equity community engagement strategy – to the PSE ecosystem model. PSE received a multi-year grant from Healthcare Georgia Foundation (HGF) to provide health equity expertise and technical assistance for 11 rural counties participating in The Two Georgias Initiative (TGI). The team’s work is deeply grounded in encouraging residents and community partner to be courageous, innovative, creative, passionate, and accountable.

The Just Health Special Project is pleased to be a member of the TGI Management Team in rural Georgia where they have conducted PSE’s signature training on “Why Health Equity Matters?“, a training module designed to advance health equity and strengthen rural engagement in Appling, Chattooga, Clay, Cook, Decatur, Early, Elbert, Hancock, Haralson, Lumpkin, and Miller counties. In the last two years, the team has had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with the local partnerships and coalitions working to improve access to healthcare and resources. The team also provides health equity expertise to inform the Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIP) – plans developed by each of the rural partnerships and communities – implementation process; community outreach and engagement strategies; and technical support for the eleven rural partnerships and communities.  

PSE understands lasting change to the prevailing systems of disparity and inequity will not occur through one program, one initiative, but by a deep, intentional and long-term engagement with communities and residents who can envision the changes they would like to see.  Healthcare Georgia Foundation’s The Two Georgias Initiative is an example of long-term investment in rural communitiesTGI affords residents an opportunity to plan, develop, and implement strategies to improve access to healthcare and resources; where too often there are either limited resources, or none at all.  

PSE, TGI, residents and organizations in rural communities are committed to bringing people together who have similar interests to create and sustain partnerships and coalitions; people who want to improve access to healthcare and resources; and people willing to engage in health equity conversations that lead to developing strategies and actions to minimize health inequities.  We applaud the more than 400 rural residents who have joined us in health equity conversations. These conversations that are not always easy to have, but can be eye opening, a learning opportunity, and in some cases even life changing.

“Advancing health equity at the local level always begins with people. We will realize the changes we would like to see when communities and residents learn more about how equity impacts our lives, become more confident taking action; when residents participate in The Two Georgias Initiative, and join PSE as we grow and develop the Just Health Special Project,”
– Nathaniel Smith, founder and chief equity officer of PSE.

“We understand people have different views and they are going to say what they believe. The workshop helped our partners see the work that’s involved,”
– Chet Ballard, educator, Cook County Family Connection

“We’re also having the difficult conversations necessary to address the health inequities among rural Georgians,”
– Gwen Houston, Early (County) Cares coalition member

“Every voice, every story, every community has value when we work to advance health equity,”
– Arlene Parker Goldson, Just Health director at PSE

The Just Growth Portfolio Team:

Arlene Parker Goldson, Just Health Director

Arlene Parker Goldson serves as the Just Health Director where she provides health equity strategy development and project management for the The Two Georgias Initiative (TGI). In her role as special project’s leader, Arlene’s work includes design and facilitation of “Why Health Equity Matters?” training provided to strengthen residents and rural community’s capacity to address health inequities; works closely with partnership groups and communities in 11 rural Georgia communities – Appling, Decatur, Cook, Clay, Early, Elbert, Haralson, Hancock, Chattooga, Lumpkin, and Miller. In addition to the work of TGI, Arlene is responsible for providing health equity strategic development and support as one part of the PSE equity ecosystem to advance policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity in metropolitan Atlanta and the American South. Arlene graduated Cum Laude from City University of New York and received the University’s first Bachelor of Arts Degree in Black Women’s History. Arlene has more than 40 years of professional experience in the nonprofit, public health sector and for profit industry including serving as a manager, program developer, and community organizer for the largest and oldest community Development Corporation in the nation – The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Director of Student Affairs, Medgar Evers College-City University of New York, where she was the convener of the first Black and Latino Male Initiative, and Associate Director of Community Impact for DeKalb County at the United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Chloe A. Mondesir, Just Health Program Associate

In her role as Just Health Program Associate, Chloe A. Mondesir will provide project support and coordination for The Two Georgias Initiative and the Just Health special project; and develop and maintain relationships with grantee project coordinators, partnership groups, and community organizers to advance health equity in the state. Chloe’s professional experience as a change agent and equity champion includes research and information organizing and providing support for the Partnership for Southern Equity Resident Leaders for Equity Initiative in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation – Atlanta Civic Site. In addition to her program and project management work, Chloe has designed and managed administrative systems, and has some evaluation experience. Chloe has a Bachelor of Psychology degree from Spelman College and her Master’s of Organizational Leadership from Mercer University.

Stacy Russell, Just Health Ambassador

Stacy Russell is the new Just Health Community Ambassador (Organizer) for the southern region of Georgia. Stacy brings a wealth of experience and community building skills to the Partnership for Southern Equity and the Just Heath Team. Stacy’s primary role as Community Ambassador is to work closely with The Two Georgias Initiative grantees to identify health equity and community building strategies to enable residents to participate in shared decision-making; conduct community outreach and engagement to under-served populations; and to provide her expertise and support o the Just Health Team. Stacy’s career trajectory of both the professional; community outreach and organizing, project management and team development; training and education, health promotion, effectiveness in working with diverse populations, communication skills, and her astute understanding of the social determinants of health, and the personal; passion for service to under-served communities; positive attitude; team spirit; self-motivated; and spirit of goodwill makes her uniquely qualified to take on this newly created position.

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