Voice of the WHI: Sharon Moore, incoming WHI co-chair

Q. You’re a retired auto worker. Tell us a bit about your career.
Moore. I worked at the Ford Rawsonville plan for 39 years. I started out as a production worker on the assembly line and ultimately became an elected District Committeeperson and Bargaining Representative. I retired in 2005 as an appointed Employee Resource Coordinator (ERC) with responsibilities to help facilitate the plant work team process.

The work teams elect their own leaders and help to ensure that a quality product is produced by identifying problems and implementing solutions to those problems. A group of teams have a facilitator that assists them. ERCs help when team concerns can not be resolved or when guidelines were not followed.

Q. How did you hear about the Washtenaw Health Initiative?
Moore. I heard about the WHI as a board member of Packard Health. I became a patient at Packard Community Clinic when it first opened in the seventies and have been interested in health access as it pertains to the underserved/not served since that time. 

Another Packard Health board member, Doug Strong (WHI co-chair), recommended me for membership on the WHI Steering Committee. Because of my limited knowledge of the WHI, I read the information available and thought it would be interesting to learn what health agencies were doing in the community to improve access to health care.

Q. Do you remember your first meeting?
Moore. My first meeting was a listening exercise to try to acclimate myself to who was around the table and how they contributed to the mission of the WHI. It took several meetings before I asked questions or gave my opinion. It is still a learning process.

Q. The WHI has been talking about doing more to address health and racial equity. Can you tell us about that?
Moore. The WHI has had successes from earlier programs. The health and race equity initiatives are so important to attempt to address the wide range of disparities that people face every day. My hope is that the WHI can assist work that is being done with respect to hearing community voices who are affected by the lack of race and health equity and determine where we might make necessary changes to practice what we might preach.

We’ve had several meetings with different groups about health and race equity to help us better understand a path forward for the WHI. As a member of the community, I appreciate the honest exchange of ideas, the consideration of what has and is working, and the attempt to understand the root of the problems we face like implicit bias. Where does it come from?

We might not be able to walk in other people’s shoes; however, we should at least be willing to try them on. I believe the WHI will listen to desperate voices, understand the value of their experiences, and work diligently to offer help and accept help, as warranted, in the desire to provide a platform to help create lasting meaningful change. We know it will be hard; but, progress can be made.