National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships
VHA Community Partnership Challenge
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are top of mind for chief judge of VHA’s National Community Partnership Challenge
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has many collaborations in place with partners whose resources add to what VHA can do for Veterans. VHA and organizations in communities throughout the United States work together to meet Veterans’ needs, and these community partnerships are built on a foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
VHA partnerships reach many populations—people experiencing homelessness or food insecurity, those with a mental health condition or disability, seniors, and many more. VHA’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) supports many of these partnerships, and it is in the spirit of diversity, equity, and inclusion that OCE offers its annual National Community Partnership Challenge, which recognizes local partnerships working on behalf of Veterans.
The 2021 National VHA Community Partnership Challenge’s theme is “Adaptability in a Changing World,” and entries must demonstrate how the partnership serves Veterans of all races, ethnicities, sexual identities, languages, learning styles, and/or spiritual preferences. Entries must also fit into one or more of several specific categories.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are priorities every day throughout VHA, and as we celebrate Black History Month this February. The chief judge of the Community Partnership Challenge this year is Chief Medical Officer and Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Clinical Services Dr. Kameron L. Matthews. Dr. Matthews recently sent a message to VHA employees about diversity, equity, and inclusion in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“So many of us working at VA also live with a frustration that makes this pandemic even more troubling. So many of us, particularly from communities of color, are seeing or experiencing the unequal effect of the virus on our family and neighborhoods,” Dr. Matthews wrote. “As an African-American woman, I understand the hesitance that so many of us feel about obtaining the new COVID-19 vaccine. I have taken the vaccine. It is an act of service to yourself and those around you.”
“As we seek solutions for our communities, we should remain informed of the medical advances that become available and have open dialogue that is honest and filled with fact,” Dr. Matthews continued. “As the lead physician for VA, I ask you to trust those of us who are here serving you.”
Dr. Matthews’ message speaks directly to a specific community, identifies an inequality and need, and proposes solutions—that is exactly what many VHA partnerships do, too.
“The 2021 National VHA Community Partnership Challenge will lift up the tremendous partnership work being done in communities all over America on behalf of Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors,” Dr. Matthews said. “To adapt to our changing world, we must put diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of the work we do, and I know that so many people are stepping up to the plate in that regard. I look forward to learning their stories as I oversee the judging of contest entries this year.”
For more information on OCE’s partnership work and the Community Partnership Challenge, please visit: https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPARTNERSHIPS/index.asp
If you are a VA/VHA employee, visit the submission portal here: http://vaww.oce.med.va.gov/pc/pcWelcome.aspx
Posted February 19, 2021