Justice is a pillar of community health

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Thanks so much, ICH community, for the warm welcome! This is my 7th week in the Executive Director role, and I’m even more convinced that ICH is the right place for me. The ICH staff have a clear commitment to high-quality, equitable and ethical evaluation and professionalism and camaraderie that are wonderful to be part of.

For those readers who may not know, I have a background in research and evaluation on programs and practices in the justice system, including probation and parole supervision, institutional corrections, and high-risk transition-age youth. Over the past few weeks I’ve met dozens of people who work with ICH, support ICH, or are members of ICH’s board. Many of them ask me why I, as a justice systems researcher, chose to come to an organization devoted to community health. If any readers of this blog are wondering the same, I’ll reiterate my answer here: I believe access to justice, fair approaches to justice, and community support for people with justice involvement are all strong pillars of community health. When people do not get the care and treatment they need they are at increased risk for involvement in the justice system. This is particularly true for people with behavioral health disorders, people with unstable housing, and people who have experienced trauma. ICH’s mission to improve health for all communities makes the organization a natural fit for my research and evaluation background.

Another question I’ve been asked is what I see in the future for ICH. This question is so easy for me to answer—I want to help ICH continue what we do best, delivering high-quality evaluation, assessment, planning and capacity-building to our clients. We have a long list of clients and partners who continue to return to ICH because our staff are committed to helping these organizations serve their communities. My mission is to continue to spread the word about ICH and the ways we help to empower and strengthen community-based organizations, and how we bring our commitment to equity, ethics, and rigor to each partnership. Get ready to hear a lot more about us and our work!

Sarah Jalbert, MA, MS

Executive Director