Four Reasons NOT to Apply to Our Health Leadership Fellows Program

March 11, 2013

The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) is currently recruiting for the 2014 Class of Health Leadership Fellows. The deadline to apply April 1, 2013. We sincerely hope you’ll apply to become a Fellow and enhance your skills to advance health equity.

Previously, we’ve highlighted numerous aspects of the program, the successes of participants who completed the program – all with the goal of convincing you why you should apply if you’re interested in advancing health equity.

Today, however, we want to try something different. We thought we’d tell you why you might not want to join our program. We want to support your decision process.

As Lead Facilitator, Heidi Brooks really believes in this program and its potential for action on the topic of health equity for people of color.

But she also knows that the program, as exciting, interesting, and valuable as it is, may not be for you.

Would you watch this video, and let us know what you think of this approach? Did it help you decide if you want to apply to the Leadership Fellows Program?


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19 Responses to Four Reasons NOT to Apply to Our Health Leadership Fellows Program

  1. Desiree A. Diaz says:

    THis was a fabulous video. I loved it! I have used the things I learned in the color wheel almost daily as I push the issue to the frontlines in the nursing world.! Desiree

  2. Ann Levie says:

    So why would you join this program that Heidi says will require taking time, making an effort, working well with others, trusting “unscientific methods” and holding inner honesty and bravery?

    Because you are doing the work anyhow, can’t stop doing it and want to do it the best way possible with the most effective outcomes. You’ll learn leadership skills no matter wether you consider yourself a leader or not.

  3. Heang Tan says:

    Love your energy in this video message! I particularly liked Reason #2 – so true!

  4. Evelyn Richardson says:

    Wonderful video and good message. As an alumn I was challenged by all thos requirements, making effort taking the time to be there for each meeting and extras and oh well, working well with others when the differences were highlighted in bold red. And even though on a good day I sometimes understand how health equity works and what it means I am still challenged in the same regard. But the experience, trainings, and edification as well as relationships and collaborations far out weigh any challenges I overcame by participating. And as a community worker I am blessed by the exposure. Thanks for the approach Heidi but there really is no reason to not apply if you care about health.

  5. Tonya Wiley says:

    Great video! I feel like the “why you should not apply” gives applicants another lens to look through in examining their own motivations for leading. I think number three is an excellent point! Leading can be messy and murky. Thanks, Heidi!

  6. Lina Paredes says:

    Thank you all for your comments! As graduates and Fellows, you are our best spokespeople and promoters of the Health Leadership Fellows Program. Make sure to reach out to potential applicants now. The deadline for submission is April 1.

  7. Heidi Brooks says:

    Thanks all for comments, stories and a little push back (thanks Evelyn:))

    I was hoping to give people a sense of what they might be getting into- leadership in health equity is not necessarily EASY- it involves risk and commitment and perseverance. And the dream is worth it.

    In community, heidi

  8. I appreciate the video and the approach- why “NOT” to apply. It’s different and effective.

    However, I think that the statement “we are stuck around conversations about race and power and possibility and justice; and we really need leaders who want to create something different” might be misleading.

    It is my opinion that we do not have enough conversations about race/racism/power/possibilities/justice. Are these conversations uncomfortable? Yes. And I freely admit that with every training I’ve been to (and through) I am not an expert at facilitating the conversations. I also don’t believe the difficulty is a reason not to have the conversations.

    At the panel we attended at the Foundation, there was discussion about some providers being uncomfortable discussing race and the result was to discuss issues of inclusion, cultural sensitivity and diversity– perhaps a kinder, gentler way to discuss something that’s uncomfortable. I’m not sure, though, that diversity, cultural sensitivity and inclusion get to the root of the problem.

    Is it better to dilute the institutional/systemic contributions to inequities? Isn’t it possible that “open interactions that create possibilities for this world” can be fostered by having meaningful (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations?

    • Jenn Whinnem says:

      I admit I love Heidi’s approach to this. As someone who spends a lot of her time receiving healthcare, one of my ongoing frustrations is that providers don’t give you the full story when recommending a test or procedure. They say, ‘oh you just do this little thing, it’s no big deal,’ and then you do it and it IS a big deal.

      I hate that. Tell me what I’m getting into. So that’s what I liked about this. Although, I’ve already been through the program. I’m not sure how it would help anyone who is considering it. I’d love to know.

      Stephanye asks a tough question, one we then talked about on twitter. My thought is that perhaps in each of our Fellows’s classes, we do get stuck in conversations about race, power, privilege &justice. I’d like to to think that’s because we all agree with each other, but I’ve been wrong before.

      The place I DON’T see enough of those conversations happening is in the world more broadly. Like Stephanye, I too was at that panel discussion where we heard that it was better to discuss cultural sensitivity than it was to talk about issues of race because providers shut down and don’t listen. I too was bothered by that idea. As a frequent consumer of healthcare I’ve dealt with more than my share of provider egos.

      Then I think of Heidi coaching us that being effective is more important than being right. So, I’m torn. I’m loathe to perpetuate bad behavior,but I want to see change. I know that I owe a huge debt to those who made me uncomfortable – so I think the answer to undoing racism in a systemic way requires multiple approaches.

      But this was about whether we’re really talking about race too much. Personally,I think we’re not.

    • Heidi Brooks says:

      YES YES to increasing our tolerance and capacity for dealing with discomfort!!! double yes- AND we are looking to enroll leaders for whom that pathway holds intrigue. Avoidance of hard issues is a privilege we cannot afford if we want to create EQUITY and justice. We can handle it- i think we are stuck trying to stay COMFORTABLE- as though comfort is the pathway to progress…We need leaders who want to help these powerful conversations happen successfully – courage is the way and courageous leadership is part of the answer. Thanks for the energetic comment, Stephanye!!! I hope you will be part of the circles of courageous conversation we are building in the fellowship network! best, Heidi

  9. Karen Eichstaedt says:

    As a 2009 alum, I so appreciated having both Gerado and Heidi, two of our most charismatic leaders, do up these video clips . . . excellent spokespeople whose energy comes through in a warm and inviting manner. So real, as a matter of fact, that I experienced again the qualms and stomach flutters that I felt on my way to my first retreat! This work truly is not for sissies!!!! As the Aquarian that I am (and our age is officially here!) I feel compelled to weave a connection between Heidi’s words and my Eastern Fellow member Stephanye’s in that I agree with both of them! The “stuckness” for me in “talking about . . .” the “isms” is that we are so inexperienced as a human race in actually connecting with each other and dropping into our heart levels about what we are hearing that we don’t (or can’t, or won’t) feel inspired enough to take action together. But come together we must . . . again and again and again until we talk ourselves down to the truth. To Heidi’s last point, we must replace fear with love . . . and the way gets pretty clear after that. But first we need to step out of what we have “learned”, and start over!

  10. Maritza Bond says:

    This is a great video that depicts the skills that leaders should bring to the fellows program~ Let’s get from scripted approaches to elegant solutions..

  11. Yvette Bello says:

    Heidi, CHF, and fellow fellows (that never gets old), thank you for the video and the comments. I have to agree that the Fellowship may not be for everyone. Heidi has taught us as recent as this current fellowship class that there are natural archs in a conversation. The naural point in a conversation when a message, a word, perhaps a look, or a breath can change the course of the conversation. As communicators and stewards with improtant messages from our constituents, we need to be deliberate with both how we craft the message and when we deliver it. The 4 reasons on why this fellowship may not be for you reminds me of those Army commercials on TV with soldiers running and physically hurling themselves into harms way. I always thought, who in their right mind would join?.

    This work isn’t for just anyone, yet this work is for everyone to have a chance at a healthy life. We all have archs and at this point of the conversation, I say boots on and as my drill Sargeant Carnigy used to say to us when I didn’t think I could scale a wall or cross a one rope bridge, “always forward” Bello, always forward. In that spirit, I say to my fellows, Always forward Fellows, always forward.

    • Evelyn Richardson says:

      I agree Yvette it’s not for everyone. I actually thought it wasn’t for me once I got he 3rd class but I made it through and still to this day the lessons are evident in my work. Although yes, the commitment is to be thought through.

  12. Aldon Hynes says:

    As a member of this years Fellowship class a couple recent lessons come to mind. One is that we should not be afraid of failure. We should try something bold and new. The other is to focus on intent and impact.

    What is the intent of this blog post? Is it to get more people to apply, perhaps a little reverse psychology? Is it to filter down the list of people applying so that the applicants that do apply fit more closely with the program? Is it to stimulate a discussion about what leadership really means, especially around difficult topics like racial health disparities? And, is it having the desired impact?

    Yet perhaps, there is something else, important going on here, an indirect lesson. Perhaps Heidi is illustrating the sort of leadership that the program seeks to develop through example, through trying something different that stretches everyone involved.

    Perhaps that is the important lesson to be learned, whether or not someone applies to the program. Leadership is hard work. Discussions around racial health disparities are hard work. The program has been very challenging for me, and very rewarding. I hope the work continues in this blog, in other places where fellows meet online or face to face, and that others carefully consider the fellowship program.

    I hope I have the energy to continue on in my explorations in this topic and I hope others find the same energy. The fellowship is a good way to find some of that energy.

  13. Lina Paredes says:

    You all have such interesting and valuable points to contribute and isn’t it great that the Health Leadership Fellows Program builds and supports a community where these conversations can happen? With 140 Fellows across Connecticut, and an additional 20 soon to join your ranks, the opportunity begins with the 10-month structured program and it extends beyond to a long term commitment to building health equity for CT’s people of color. Come join us!

  14. Ashika Brinkley says:

    I tend not to believe that there is a wrong reason to apply other than an unwillingness to commit the time to the process. Often those who learn the most are those who start off being the most resistant to the approaches that are the hallmark of this fellowship program. In the years since I have stepped away from my own experience I found that I learned way more from the moments when people were honest about their own cognitive dissonance around the topic of racial and ethnic disparities than those moments when we were all optimistic and on one accord.

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