Iowa Primary Care Association
The Iowa Primary Care Association (Iowa PCA) has provided technical assistance and training to Iowa’s community health centers to support their ongoing commitment to provide quality, affordable primary and preventive health care to meet community needs since 1988. The Iowa PCA is a non-profit membership association comprised 13 community health centers and one migrant health program and is recognized as the trusted voice on healthcare, particularly concerning under-resourced populations. These organizations collectively serve more than 250,000 Iowans each year through nearly 900,000 patient visits. Iowa PCA’s work focuses on the mission of enhancing community health centers’ capacity to care with a vision of equity for all.
Compliance and Accountability
The Iowa PCA began a more formal journey toward health equity and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging during strategic planning in 2019. Iowa PCA’s vision was redefined to be health equity for all, and they followed strategic planning with an organizational DEI assessment in the summer of 2021. This assessment identified several recommendations that Iowa PCA has been working to implement over the past year.
First, Iowa PCA established an internal Inclusion Council which was open to all staff and was capped at 13 total staff representing various business units. A vision, mission and charter was developed to guide the work and governance of the Council. Iowa PCA kicked off the Council meetings in August 2021 and in February 2022, and hired the first Director of Health Equity who has provided leadership and support to the Inclusion Council. A member of the Executive Team, Director of Health Equity and a member of the Workforce Team serve as standing members and the other members hold seats for one-to-two years. Iowa PCA received support from a consultant to stand up the Council and now responsibility and accountability has shifted to the Council internally.
Inclusion Council accomplishments since inception have included embedding health equity tactics into several of Iowa PCA’s strategic goals including Operational Excellence and Leadership Development, hosting two all staff DEI-focused trainings around ‘Language Matters’ and ‘Calling People In Versus Calling People Out’. The two trainings are part of the new staff onboarding and Iowa PCA plans to develop additional training and education in the coming year.
The Inclusion Council has also worked to identify a broader set of important holidays and recognitions. Iowa PCA avoids scheduling meetings with the health centers and staff to allow people to celebrate the holidays that are important to their culture. Two additional accomplishments have been developing a business case of health equity and bringing learning moments focused on DEI and belonging to the quarterly staff meetings. Iowa PCA is turning the focus to embedding health equity tactics across the strategic plan goals and activities, and the Inclusion Council will be supporting this work across the organization.