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Step-by-Step: Crafting Global Health Corps’ Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Vision

GHC staff members participating in a virtual retreat, November 2020

Editor’s note: Global Health Corps’ (GHC) Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Task Force was initially created in 2019 and revitalized in 2020 with renewed vigor. In the spirit of transparency and collaboration to advance DEI within global health organizations, we are sharing this behind-the-scenes look at how we created our collective DEI Vision. While our journey isn’t perfect and we’ll never arrive, we hope our reflections can guide others looking to embark on similar initiatives and we invite inquiries or feedback at deitaskforce@ghcorps.org.

This post was authored by DEI Task Force Phase 2 members: Brittany Cesarini, Hannah Wood, Heather Anderson, Jean René Shema, Gabriela Lopez, and Mera Boulus Grozier.

Global Health Corps’ internal Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) task force launched the process of creating a DEI Vision in September 2020. Our goal was to craft a statement that could provide inspiration, context, and coordination for our ongoing DEI efforts.

After discussion with key team members beyond the task force, we intentionally decided to solely engage staff and Board members in the collaborative creation process. This was primarily because we intended the Vision to represent a commitment to each other as a team as well as a commitment to our community of fellows, alumni, and partners. As the individuals directly charged with upholding and advancing GHC’s mission, staff and Board members are responsible for living out the Vision in their roles within the institution of GHC.

Step 1: To gather initial input from all staff and Board members, we co-drafted and posed a set of questions to be answered by each individual via Google form:

  • What words come to mind when you think of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?
  • What does diversity mean to you?
  • What does equity mean to you?
  • What does inclusion mean to you?
  • In your view, how is advancing DEI important to achieving GHC’s mission to mobilize a diverse community of leaders to build the movement for global health equity?
  • Consider where you work within the organization and the processes and projects you own and/or influence. What’s your vision for your functional area (ops, programs, comms, fundraising, people) operating in a way that advances DEI?

Step 2: Each member of the task force did research, identified, and then collectively discussed resources and other organization/company DEI visions that resonated with us:

Step 3: Through discussion of the trends and commonalities in the case studies we selected, we created a short list of parameters to guide us in creating our vision:

  • Short & readable: Approximately 800–1000 words, with sections.
  • Guiding, but not proscriptive: Outlines clear focus areas but leaves the specific actions and tactics to future phases to determine in future phases.
  • Contextualized: Acknowledges realities of power dynamics within the global health sector and within GHC.
  • Aspirational & realistic: Articulating goals for the future of GHC while acknowledging others’ expertise, work they’re already done to pave the way, & the ongoing nature of this work
  • Internal & external orientation: In pursuit of DEI within GHC, within the global health sector, and within the communities our leaders work in globally
  • Aligned with our mission & expertise: In order to be most impactful.

Step 4: Draft vision integrating staff and board input, edit, discuss, solicit feedback, edit, discuss, edit, discuss, edit…finalize.

Members of the task force reviewed all staff and board input and used an informal thematic coding process to summarize key themes, concepts, and phrases. We then mapped out an outline of the vision with section headings and wrote draft language in each section. Each task force member individually reviewed and shared written feedback on the overall draft. We discussed outstanding points and arrived at a consensus on a draft version during subsequent task force meetings.

Upon completion of our draft, we presented it during our next all staff meeting and invited each team member to review it and share verbal or written feedback. In subsequent task force meetings, we reviewed the feedback, made more edits, and arrived at a final version through consensus. At each choice point, we reviewed our agreed-upon parameters to help us make a collective decision.

Read GHC’s collective DEI Vision here.

Read about our journey to deepening our commitment to DEI in 2020 here.

Later in February, we’ll be launching a partnership with a DEI consultancy firm to support our work in Phase 3 of the task force and beyond. Stay tuned for updates.

Global Health Corps (GHC) is a leadership development organization building the next generation of health equity leaders around the world. All GHC fellows, partners, and supporters are united in a common belief: health is a human right. There is a role for everyone in the movement for health equity. To learn more, visit our website and connect with us on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook.

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New voices and ideas from Global Health Corps, a diverse community of over 1000 young leaders worldwide united by the belief that health is a human right. We tell our own stories, honestly and thoughtfully, because this is where our activism begins.

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