Who has the power?
Technology-driven social determinants of health (SDOH) interventions, such as resource and referral platforms, have become an $18.5 billion industry in the last decade. And with that, a major power imbalance was created alongside this new industry.
As a nonprofit organization running one of these tech-driven interventions (One Degree), Alluma has a unique, community-oriented perspective. That’s why we’re diving headfirst into conversations about this power imbalance alongside other leaders in this space, and we’re starting to wonder if SDOH interventions across the country are centering equity and truly making an impact on the people we serve.
At the 211 San Diego CIE Summit, I facilitated a workshop with fellow colleagues Artair Rogers and Stacey Thomas from Health Leads to explore how power flows in the SDOH landscape. With dozens of participants from across the country, we discussed how current SDOH interventions both obstruct and promote anti-racism and equity advancement, and reflected on whether the implementations in the field are facilitating liberation for oppressed communities.
There was an acknowledgment in this group that the power flow is inequitable, and we need to authentically include the voices of the people and our communities in the solutions to achieve greater impact:
...By having [community members] be a part of institutions [and] meetings, they can share power with those folks and have a say in the decisions that are being made so that [they] are more informed by the community. Another outcome of sharing power is that the decisions that are being made are owned by the community members dictating how their needs are being addressed.
To achieve race and class equity, we must seek opportunities for community ownership of SDOH interventions (especially because in our current landscape, for-profit corporations are extracting and profiting off of our community members’ data in extreme ways).
Check out the full report, and let us know your thoughts on how power flows in this landscape. We’re also convening another set of follow-up conversations to the workshop. If you’d like to join, send me a reply. Thank you for being in this work with us.
Rey Faustino, Interim CEO