How Linda Goler Blount is Improving Health Disparities & Health Equity as President & CEO of Black Women's Health Imperative
By Sarah Ford on May 27, 2014
The Black Women's Health Imperative (Imperative) is the only organization devoted solely to advancing the health and wellness of America's 20 million Black women and girls through advocacy and public policy, health education, research and leadership development.
Through advocacy and public policy, health education, research, and leadership development, Imperative is working to eliminate racial and gender-based health inequities and deepen Black women’s resolve in becoming informed decision makers to achieve optimum health and wellness. Leading Imperative is President and CEO, Linda Goler Blount, featured in this Q&A interview.
Q&A With Linda Goler Blount:
What attracted you to this job & particular cause?
I like a challenge. For 30 years the public health community has discussed health disparities and health equity but, unfortunately, these issues have largely worsened in that time. At the Imperative, I have the opportunity to work with an extremely talented and innovative team that looks at the issues of health equity broadly and to develop new policies and programs that make an impact by empowering women to understand and take control of their health so that the state of black women in 2020 is one of emotional and physical health, financial resilience and freedom from the barriers that prevent them.
Walk us through a “typical” day in your shoes. How are you making an impact through your work?
Each morning, I prioritize and do the key tasks that must get done: the people I need to respond or reach out to; the staff assignments that are due; progress against immediate organizational and strategic priorities and I look at what must happen over the next 3-5 days based on what has happened in the past 3-5 days. This type of rolling planning and tactical analysis of our programs and policy work keeps us focused on our strategic vision of and progress toward the state of black women in 2020. I meet with the team, Board members and stakeholders to review pressing issues and status of the work. Then I do everything else. Oh, I take time to think and ponder where we are, where we’re going and how else we can get there.
What do you find most rewarding about your job at the end of the day?
We face some of the same challenges as other non-profits: ensuring enough funds to continue making impact, staff turnover, a shifting and, often unsupportive, political landscape. But, at the end of the day, I know that our work is critical to ensuring the health of a sorely underserved population. I can tell many stories of successes of programs like our diabetes prevention program and see the weight loss, risk reduction, use of technology and resulting empowerment among women who now understand and care for their health in very positive ways.
If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ or advice you’d give to anyone with a similar position, what would it be and why?
It may seem obvious, but it’s critical to affirm your staff. This type of work can’t happen with an indifferent team. Let them and others know how vital they are to the progress that is being made – show passion. And, I view my organization continually as a start-up and a turnaround. That way, I’m always soliciting the best and most innovative ideas from my team. These are the ideas that keep the Imperative on the leading edge of improving women’s health and eliminating the barriers those who want to be healthy face every day.
Our thanks to Linda Goler Blount, President & CEO of Black Women's Health Imperative, for sharing her time and expertise with us! To learn more about the impact Linda and her organization are making, visit their website and connect with them at www.BlackWomensHealth.org. Click here to support their work with a donation.
The primary goal for any nonprofit is to get people to support that nonprofit’s cause so they can make an impact. But, behind each of those causes are hard-working individuals, actively involved in making that impact happen. Through our Making Impact Blog Series, we’re going behind the scenes with America’s Charities member organizations to learn how they’re making impact happen and share insights and advice from the staff and volunteers supporting these initiatives.