Spotlight: Senior Vice President Shauneequa Owusu

Spotlight: Senior Vice President Shauneequa Owusu

October 17, 2017

Shauneequa Owusu is a senior vice president at ChangeLab Solutions, where she leads the development of strategies and approaches to improve the health of communities across the nation. 
 
Shauneequa’s passion for urban policy and community development has fueled her work in a range of settings from local government to national nonprofits. She was drawn to join ChangeLab Solutions because of our multidisciplinary approach to developing policy solutions. “Law and policy leverage change; they are at the core of everything,” she states.
 
Shauneequa leads our new project, Building Healthy, Equitable Communities for Children & Families, which is funded by a generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Building on ChangeLab Solutions’ long-standing efforts in chronic disease prevention and rooted in health equity, this program broadens our work to address the social determinants of health and bring our expertise and capacity-building services to help change laws, policies, systems, and institutions in ways that will improve the health of children, their families, and the communities they live in. “We are pleased to have the foundation as our partner, especially on equity,” says Shauneequa. “Our goal is to create health-promoting environments, systems, and social and economic conditions for all families.” 
 
When asked what this project means to her, Shauneequa shares, “The challenges that children and families face are challenges that have been faced by me and my family, as well as many others, especially people who are marginalized. Thinking of one’s health is a luxury when there are pressing issues such as how to pay rent on time, buy food for your family, fix your car to get to work, or obtain affordable, safe child care. Everyday people do not think about their day to day in terms of policies; they rely on their experience. It is our job at ChangeLab Solutions to understand those experiences and to develop solutions that facilitate improved experiences and translate to better health for all.”  
 
Over 18 months, ChangeLab Solutions will work with a network of local governments and community-based organizations. We will develop new products, deliver tailored technical assistance, and work intensively with a cohort of 8 selected communities to build their capacity to use the tools of law and policy to build healthy, equitable communities. Given the project’s focus on health equity, topics include food insecurity, the built environment, public financing, maternal and family wellness, or community and school health.
 
The 8 communities in the cohort comprise a diverse cross section of the United States, representing the West, Midwest, Northeast, and South as well as rural, urban, suburban, and tribal communities.
 
“Communities know what they need,” Shauneequa says. “They have the solution—or at least part of it. Some of the most innovative solutions come from people at the local level, especially those working at the margins. The goal is to demonstrate the uniqueness and differences in how these communities address their needs and implement solutions, not the commonalities. It’s in the identification of uniqueness and differences that innovative practices are unearthed.” 
 
Read more about Shauneequa and her work to improve the health of children, families, and communities. Learn more about how ChangeLab Solutions can help improve the health of children and families in your community, and support our work to build healthy communities for all!