Leadership Training

Community Organizing for Health Equity

Health Equity Circle developed these courses which blend principles of health equity with the practices of community organizing.  The courses are supported by local HEC chapters and open to students for college credit. 

Originally developed in 2012 as a collaboration between HEC student leaders and Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) trained community organizers from the Spokane and Sound Alliances, the course draws on lessons developed from over 75 years of community organizing experience. Foundational principles of organizing are taught with a focus on how they can be a means to address health inequities on campus and in the community.  Concepts taught include:

  • The Organizing Cycle
  • 1-1 relational meetings
  • Cutting a problem to an issue
  • Research Action Teams
  • Campaign development
  • Power analysis

These courses additionally introduce foundational concepts of health equity including the social determinants of health, the conditions in which people live including income, access to healthcare, housing, and safety. 

During training, students learn the importance of 

  • listening to patient’s stories
  • looking upstream for the causes of shared struggles 
  • working collaboratively with patients and local community organizations on addressing the causes of the health disparities that they witness in clinical settings.

Since its inception, Community Organizing for Health Equity has engaged over 1000 students (undergraduate and graduate) from the following universities:


Seattle: University of Washington

Spokane: Washington State University, University of Washington, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington University


Bozeman: UW WWAMI, Montana State University


Laramie: UW WWAMI, University of Wyoming


UW WWAMI, University of Idaho


University of Denver

North Carolina

Western Carolina University