State of Inclusion. Interview with Ame Sanders, Equity Warrior


It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere. I can’t help but see almost everything I do in my advocacy through the lens of health equity. Whether it’s making decisions about our health and medical care, managing pain, young adults with complex medical issues transitioning from pediatric to adult medicine, men in caregiving, data sharing, patient access to data. Everywhere. I’m defining equity as people having the same opportunity to achieve best physical, mental and spiritual health no matter their social circumstances, biology, genetics, or physical environment. I wanted to take a look at bias, inclusion and equity from outside healthcare. So, I interviewed Ame Sanders and we talked about our own biases, inclusion or lack thereof in our communities, measuring bias, and taking action to reduce inequities.

The full podcast can be found here

Ame Sanders and I met at Seth Godin’s Podcasting Fellowship, 350 or so people from around the world learning to be podcasters. Ame caught my eye with her podcast, Equity Warriors, and her company See the show notes for further information. We decided to interview each other. You can hear Ame’s interview of me at the link above. Being a practical person, I look for what works and what we can learn from other people’s experiences. While Ame doesn’t work in the health care space, she has much to teach us about the state of inclusion in communities.

Defining Community

I’m open to any definition of community and there are many different ways to define community. It can be social media. It can be the LGBTQ community. It can be people that you identify with. But for the work that I do, largely, the way I define community is either city or county. And I’ll give you a reason because my mission for my work is to work with communities to help them become more inclusive. I believe you can change the world one community at a time. and I work with a lot of data. There is a certain level of data that’s required to do this work. And it’s mostly available at the county level sometimes even not at the county level.

Measuring equity -race

It is a bit of a conundrum because in one hand you don’t want to ask people that question because it shouldn’t matter, right. We should be able to go through life and never be asked that because race is an artificial construct in any case. It’s not a factual thing. It’s an artificial construct and in some cases, as you pointed out, it’s how people perceive themselves and how they define themselves.

Knowing better and doing better

There’s a quote from Maya Angelou that says, ‘when you know better do better.’ So each of us, I think the most important thing in this work is that each of us own very responsibly. The need to know better and that includes knowing better about ourselves. And doing better.

Establishing trust

Then I think that the next thing to work on is dialogue and trust. Because communities only change in this area if you can establish a basis of trust. And that’s really important. There’re probably organizations in every Community.

So, there are organizations out there. Perhaps one in your own community that will help you work through this dialogue and trust and that’s a good first place because without trust none of this is going to- it’s not going to happen., you know, you can’t change and you can’t accept members of your community if you don’t trust one another so those are going to you know important steps.

Make a change

I think that the awareness of a community and the people that live in the community is the first step. It’s just like anything else that you want to change. If you’re not aware of it as an issue and if you don’t own it as an issue, then you’re not going to change it. And I think that’s one of the barriers here. Communities either they don’t want to talk about it at all. I tell people that people don’t want to pay me for me to tell them things they don’t want to know.

A negative space

it’s a very negative and it’s very discouraging. You need to look at it. You don’t want to step away from it, but people over and over again, as I’ve shared in reports with them and information with them. They’re like, yeah, but. You know, what do we do? And how do we address this? And this is so this is awful. And so the podcast for me offers an opportunity to talk with people like yourself and others who are who are working on this every day and who are making progress

State of Inclusion

Ame Sander’s podcast, Equity Warriors

Ame’s interview with Danny on her podcast

Implicit Association Test

Speak Down Barriers

William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

Riley Institute at Furman



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Danny van Leeuwen Health Hats

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Empowering people traveling together toward best health. Pt with MS, care partner, nurse, informaticist, leader. Focusing on learning what works for people