“Our communities, the source of our original inspiration – people of color, working people, women – still wait outside the institution[‘s] hallowed walls. Wait for us to integrate our dreams with reality. Wait for use to serve. Wait for us to ACT as changemakers alongside them. Wait for us to rejoin the fight with resolve. We can recapture the priority of social responsibility…We CAN! We MUST! We WILL!!!” – Melanie Tervalon May 1980
At WOCHEC, we envision a world where women and girls of color not only survive but thrive, experiencing optimal health and well-being. Over the past five years, our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to bring this vision to life. We invite you to join us on this transformative journey.
What Would it Look Like?
Imagine a world where every woman and girl of color has access to high-quality healthcare, where their voices are heard, their unique needs are met, and they are empowered to make choices about their health and well-being. This is the world we aspire to create.
The core of what we do at WOCHEC is rooted in cultural humility. We understand that the path to health equity begins with listening, learning, and respecting the diverse cultures and experiences of the communities we serve. We approach our work with an open heart and a commitment to lifelong learning.
Cultural humility is a concept and practice that involves individuals and organizations recognizing their own limitations in understanding and respecting the cultural beliefs, values, experiences, and needs of others, especially those from diverse and historically marginalized backgrounds. It goes beyond cultural competence, which suggests a level of expertise in another culture, and instead emphasizes an ongoing process of self-reflection, openness, and a willingness to learn from and about individuals and communities.
Cultural humility is the practice of acknowledging one’s limitations in understanding and respecting the cultural beliefs, values, experiences, and needs of individuals from diverse backgrounds, especially those historically marginalized. For WOCHEC, embracing the principles of cultural humility means fostering an environment of self-reflection, active listening, and lifelong learning. The organization encourages its team members to regularly reflect on their own cultural biases and privileges while actively engaging with communities to genuinely understand and value their perspectives.
To live these principles, WOCHEC actively promotes continuous education and training on diverse cultures, involving community members in decision-making processes, and respecting and validating the experiences and practices of individuals and communities served. We prioritize cultural humility training for staff, employ cultural liaisons who can bridge gaps, and tailor our programs to meet the specific needs of each community. Additionally, WOCHEC advocates for policies that address systemic racism and disparities in healthcare and consistently holds both individuals and the organization accountable for embodying cultural humility at every level of our operations. By committing to this ongoing journey of cultural humility, WOCHEC aims to create a more inclusive and equitable approach to improving the health and well-being of women and girls of color.
Our strength lies in our adaptability and commitment to tailoring our approach to the unique needs of each community we serve. Whether it’s community capacity building through training, in-depth assessments, expert consulting, personalized coaching, vocal advocacy, or rigorous research, our organization is dedicated to creating lasting and meaningful change. Through training, we empower individuals and organizations with the knowledge and skills needed to address health disparities and promote equity. By conducting thorough assessments, we pinpoint specific community needs, allowing us to develop targeted solutions and strategies. Our consulting services provide expert guidance and support to organizations deeply committed to advancing health equity. We also mentor and guide individuals in leadership roles, empowering them to drive positive change within their communities. Furthermore, we use our collective voice to advocate for policies and practices that prioritize the health and well-being of women and girls of color. Additionally, our commitment extends to conducting rigorous research, informing evidence-based interventions and policy recommendations, and ultimately advancing our mission of improving the health and well-being of women and girls of color.
Join us in our mission to create a world where every woman and girl of color enjoys optimal health and well-being and carry forward the legacy of our foremothers of identity politics, black feminist theory, Chicana feminism, reproductive justice, and cultural humility. Loretta Ross,self-proclaimed professional feminist, says, “we shouldn’t give away our power by allowing others to define us out of our own movement.” Together, we can dismantle systemic barriers, foster cultural humility, and build communities that thrive. Thank you for being a part of the Women of Color Health Equity Collective.