Anti-Racism Consortium

A partnernship with IHJE. Support for the Consortium received from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Project Overview
Phase II

Project Overview

The Institute for Healing Justice & Equity (the Institute or IHJE) aims to eliminate disparities caused by systemic oppression and to improve individual and community health and well-being through systems change and deep community partnership. IHJE not only has a long-standing commitment to equity and content expertise in anti-racist theory and the impact of racism, but also is dedicated to systems change that leads to effective equity initiatives and ethical community engagement.

IHJE received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), through its Transforming Health and Health Care Systems team, to assist RWJF in planning two grant projects, including imagining, building, and mapping a new system for grantmaking that was more inclusive and community focused.

Project Team

Ruqaiijah Yearby, Principal Investigator

Kira Banks, Investigator

Keon Gilbert, Investigator

Amber Johnson, Investigator

Crystal Lewis, Policy Analyst

Debbie Chase, Program Manager

Phase I: Formation of the Anti-Racism Consortium

The Institute sought to accomplish the project objectives by creating a panel of content experts, community advocates, and organizations called the Anti-Racism Consortium. Each consortium member has a history of working to develop and advocate for anti-racist health policy, address the root causes of health inequities, and develop programs and interventions that address multiple levels of medical racism, structural racism in health the health care system. IHJE worked with Dr. Michael Muhammad, who served as a facilitator for Phase I of the Consortium.


Each consortium member represents a different geographic region, sector, and expertise area.  The individuals and community-based organizations involved in Phase I of the work include:

Amani Allen, UC Berkeley Public Health, Academic Institution – Epidemiologist who focuses on racial and socioeconomic health disparities and the measurement and study of racism as a social determinant of health.

Johnnie (Chip) Allen, Health Equity Data Consultant, Program Development Consultant and Professional and former Director of Health Equity for the Ohio Department of Health.

Rhonda Belue, University of Texas San Antonio, Academic Institution that primarily serves Latinos – Policy Analysis and Management researcher who focuses on the study of health inequities and data.

Melody Goodman, New York University School of Global Public Health, Academic Institution – Biostatistician who focuses on the development of solutions for improving health in minority and medically underserved communities.

Faybra Hemphill, Forward Through Ferguson, director of racial equity at a local community-based organization.

Pat Matthews Juarez, Meharry Medical College, Historically Black University – extensive experience in medical education, research training, administration and management.

Paul Juarez, Meharry Medical College, Historically Black University – extensive experience in personal, lifestyle, and environmental factors associated with progression to T2DM among women with a history of gestational diabetes.

Brian Smedley, Urban Institute, national thought leader in the field of health equity, co-founder and executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity, a project that connects research, policy analysis and communications with on-the-ground activism to advance health equity, co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leadership National Program Center.

Amanda Stoermer, Integrated Health Network, Anchor institution for the health care safety net in St. Louis city and County.

Kari Thatcher, Kristin Black, Crystal Dixon, Greensboro Health Disparities Collaborative, Grass roots organization dedicated to empowering and facilitating communities in defining and resolving issues related to disparities in health.

Natasha Chabria, Pilar Whitaker, Katy Youker, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Legal services organization that has a rich and dynamic history of service, seeking to secure for all the rights that are the ideals on which our country was founded, including economic justice.


The Consortium met bi-weekly for nine months working collaboratively to accomplish the following:

  • Developed definitions and glossary of key terms, identified guiding principles and frameworks, and clarified the goals and expected outcomes for the two grant programs;
  • Created draft grant calls for VFAR and ISR, which were submitted to RWJF;
  • Developed a map that outlines the theory of change of the two grant programs and shows the relationship between VFAR and ISR; and
  • Outlined key attributes of a successful grantee and drafted solicitation questions to identify potential lead organizations for VFAR and ISR.

Phase II: Consortium Work

For Phase II of the consortium’s work, we are expanding the group to include more community-based members starting in January, 2023. Members who were involved during Phase I will also be recording podcasts during December, 2022 that describe their work and perspectives related to anti-racist health policy and research on structural racism in the healthcare system.

These interviews will include a consortium member and a community partner. The Institute decided to produce these as podcasts so that they can be widely accessed and available to RWJF, the new grantees when they are awarded, and to the wider public. IHJE is responsible for facilitating and producing these podcasts.

RWJF is expected to award the VFAR and ISR grants in second quarter 2023. The consortium will be asked to review the final application of the lead organizations and to provide support for the lead grantees as they begin their work.