HEAL (Health, Equity, Action, and Leadership) trains and transforms front line health professionals through building a community dedicatee to serving the underserved as their lifelong choice.
At HEAL, we believe health is achievable for even the most vulnerable populations in our world when we apply principles of equity, justice, and solidarity.
We believe that people coming together can transform systems. Through the process, we also continue to be transformed.
We don’t come with the answers. We come to immerse ourselves and open ourselves to sharing – giving and receiving – being self-reflective and aware of who we are in each environment.
We strive for equitable partnerships and elevate the communities where we live and work. We structure solidarity directly into our program, with half of our cohort coming from the underserved communities where HEAL works.
Equity is our foundational principle. We believe no one should die from diseases we know how to treat.
We are trained to ignore the reality that illness and premature death are heavily rooted in economic, educational, racial, and power inequities.* (Footnote, SMC) We seek to impact both the patients in front of us, the communities we serve, and the larger structural violence our patients find themselves in.
The conditions producing inequality are deep and systemic. It is only together through cohorts of colleagues, allies, and teams, that we can transform ourselves and create the momentum for lasting change.
In Oakland, in the backdrop of HEAL offices, the Black Panthers took up the right to health as a natural extension of commitment to oppressed peoples. We chose to work in Navajo Nation, farmworker country in California, and in many marginalized communities, to accompany and serve the underserved everyday.
We believe that the immersive and intensive experience of delivering care to underserved patients is our greatest teacher. We witness, serve, and stay. We witness deep injustices, and don’t look away.
It has been said that change is slow, except when it’s fast. The arc of change comes from perseverance. Of showing up repeatedly and staying. It comes with understanding who came before you and collaborating with others who have been working long before HEAL started and will be there long after HEAL dissolves.