Track 4 - Health Equity

Sharing Session - 30 Minutes

D9 - Fostering Safe Spaces: Validating the Lived Experience as a Source of Expertise

Wednesday, July 11
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Salon E

Over the past decade, evidence has emerged highlighting the importance of more targeted outreach and recruitment of marginalized groups in the workplace. This outreach will aid the elimination of social inequities that have a profound effect on health disparities and outcomes. Still, while diversity has become a priority across many organizations, the value of inclusion is often misunderstood and overlooked.
This session asserts that diversity alone is insufficient in creating affirming, accepting workplaces that allow for the authentic exchange of ideas, thoughts, and opinions at all levels in an organization. Fostering safe spaces in the workplace and validating the lived experience as expertise is a valuable tool to encourage the expression of viewpoints and create a culture of inclusion. This authentic exchange of information is ultimately a valuable resource that can influence and drive public health priorities, provide context for interventions, and create space for innovative solutions.


Health Equity, Workforce, Social Determinants of Health

Kirsty A. Fontaine, MPH

Senior Program Associate
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

Kirsty Fontaine, MPH is a Program Associate for the Research Infrastructure team at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) where she supports the management of the PCORnet Clinical Data Research Networks and various research projects.

Before PCORI, she was the Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences where she ran the DC Health and Academic Prep Program, a pre-college pipeline program for underserved college-bound DC students interested in pursuing careers in health. Prior to that, she served as a program associate and lead facilitator for Promising Futures, a DC-based youth engagement organization.
Kirsty earned her BS in Health Sciences from James Madison University and received her MPH in global health programming from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.


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JeVonna Ephraim, MPH

Project Director-Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge
American Public Health Association

JeVonna Ephraim, MPH, is the project director for the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge at the American Public Health Association. She is responsible for leading the national health challenge with 50 participating communities focused on implementing innovative, evidence-based projects and leveraging cross-sector collaborations at the local level in order to address key community health priorities in the pursuit of health equity. Before coming to APHA, JeVonna worked with a public health consulting firm in Washington, DC where she led and managed multiple projects with influential local and national clients accelerating social impact. Her work at the Oklahoma State Department of Health within the Strategic Planning & Grants Department was centered on researchng inclusion strategies to guide public health policy priorities across the state and during her time as an Adolescent Health Specialist she focused on designing and implementing local public health programs in communities of color.

JeVonna holds a B.S. in Health Education & Promotion from Oklahoma State University and a MPH in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.


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D9 - Fostering Safe Spaces: Validating the Lived Experience as a Source of Expertise


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