Listening deeply, taking action

Listening deeply, taking action

Working with our partner Roanhorse Consulting, EHF gathered community feedback to guide our work going forward.

In 2022, we adopted the Equity Healing Framework, outlining a critical shift in our approach to advancing health equity. We’re reimagining how we show up to support the organization's engaged in the day-to-day work of uplifting our region’s diverse communities. Central to the framework is the principle of “Listening Deeply,” a prerequisite for building trust and cultivating strong community relationships. To strengthen our community relationships, we knew we had to evaluate how we’ve historically shown up and evolve to become better collaborators.

We partnered with Roanhorse Consulting, an Indigenous-led firm, to co-develop an equitable evaluation model that honors the principles of our new framework in 2023. The process was designed to gather feedback from community partners about how we’re showing up now and how we can best support their work going forward. Grounded in Indigenous knowledge, Roanhorse’s evaluation framework asked what people know, see and feel. In doing so, their questions prioritized and centered the lived experiences of community partners — capturing rich feedback from multiple perspectives.

The Roanhorse team met with 18 community partners across the Inland Northwest, including those who may have experienced challenges in past collaborations, to hear their reflections on working with us. To start on the path to healing, we aimed to identify areas for growth and reconciliation.

From those conversations, clear themes emerged:

  • We heard a desire to hold space for healing unresolved tensions and traumas, mending these relationships and shifting how we show up so we can all move forward together. 
  • Our team has more work to do in unlearning and addressing characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up within our organization’s approach to community engagement. 
  • Community partners are calling for more transparency, specifically around funding criteria and integration of community feedback into concrete actions.
  • We need to foster bi-directional relationships with community partners, showing up at their events and lifting up their work on an ongoing basis. 
  • We must continue reimagining our role as supporters, not problem solvers. Community members have appreciated our capacity building and technical support.
  • Partners also shared that they can see and feel our efforts to refocus on communities, specifically around serving those most impacted by health inequities. 

While we have made strides, we also have more work ahead.  We are fully committed to this journey of becoming a more equitable and community-guided organization.  The feedback gathered through this process has been invaluable as we move beyond nice words on a page to grounding our Equity Healing Framework in tangible action. We are grateful to all of our community partners for their candid feedback.

We invite everyone to read the full report of Roanhorse’s findings. Moving forward, we remain dedicated to listening, learning and evolving in partnership with communities.

Read the Full Report Here