Health Justice Commons


Healing to make our futures possible

Mordecai Cohen Ettinger, HJC Founding Director

The Health Justice Commons (HJC) works at the intersections of racial, economic, gender, disability, and ecological justice to support marginalized communities to re-imagine and re-design healthcare and healing for our times. We provide health justice training and consultation, engage in healing justice movement building, and incubate community-driven solutions which generate health abundance and alleviate the devastating health burden of social injustice and environmental racism.

Our work is grounded in an intersectional social justice lens and centers a trauma-informed approach that strives to transform the profound role that intergenerational trauma plays in health and harm, especially in communities of color. We aim to catalyze the creation of healthcare systems outside of the Medical Industrial Complex which honor the sacredness of Life, place people and the planet above profit and that are based in regenerative economics and large scale efforts to redistribute wealth such as worker-owned coops and reparations. Our work is guided by participatory action research and emergent strategy techniques to enable it to be led by those most impacted by health injustice in collaboration with progressive healers, healthcare professionals, and scientists.

The Health Justice Commons currently has 3 initiatives:

  • a Health Justice Advocacy training program

  • a Health Justice Audit & Implementation program

  • a Health Justice conference in Fall 2020

We Are Here: Health Justice Commons Honors the Invisible Labor of Healing!

Judy Larrabee and Betty Garza, mother-daughter duo, Cancer Warriors, remind us that our bodies speak to us. Take a moment to listen. What wisdom is your body communicating?

Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel for a series of interviews with healers and health Justice visionaries

The Health Justice Advocacy program trains people to be health justice advocates autonomous from the healthcare systems in which they are advocating. The program centers local and national organizers from community-based organizations, healers and healthcare professionals, and leaders from faith-based groups, mosque, synagogue, church, and sangha communities. The curriculum features 5 modules: 1) the history and current dynamics of the Medical Industrial Complex (MIC), 2) understanding translational medicine and evaluating medical research and clinical data, 3) the neurobiology of trauma/ historical trauma and healing/ resilience, 4) patient and insurance advocacy, and 5) human rights documentation and Participatory Action Research techniques. Curriculum combines popular education and Theater of the Oppressed techniques with interactive discussion, somatic practices and lecture.

Want to learn now? The Health Justice Commons offers ongoing community-based courses on understanding and transforming the MIC, and on the neurobiology of trauma and resilience from an intersectional social justice lens. Courses are online so anyone can participate from anywhere! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn about upcoming courses. Does your organization or social enterprise need health justice training or consultation? Contact us!

The Health Justice Audit and Implementation program employs an intersectional social justice lens to set institutional and community standards for health justice. Participating organizations, institutions, and socially conscious companies will engage in the audit and be advised in implementation steps. Implementation examples include coordinating partnerships with B corporations such as Seventh Generation to bring the site’s personal hygiene and cleaning supplies into compliance or collaborating with community-based partners to provide disability justice training to improve access for staff and for the public.

The Health Justice Commons is collaborating with national and international organizers, healers, and progressive scholars, scientists, and healthcare professionals to organize a health justice conference in 2010. We hope that this inaugural conference will play a major role in unifying and clarifying health and healing justice movement building aims and activities similar to the way in which the first Critical Resistance Conference played a historically decisive role in catalyzing the prison abolition movement. We look to this example as a model and we aim for this to become an annual conference.

This moment calls upon us to reckon with the falsehoods about health and healing espoused by the U.S. Healthcare system -- or the Medical Industrial Complex (MIC) -- in order to envision and create sustainable alternatives. The MIC is an intrinsically capitalist system designed in the early 1900s by the 20th century’s most prevalent monopolist families led by the Carnegie Foundation, and is a set of interlocking institutions created to control, dominate, and regulate society and keep us sick and dependent to drive profit and sustain ever-increasing ‘captive markets’ of patients. When companies like Syngenta make pesticides like Atrazine that have been found clinically culpable of causing cancer while also owning big pharma subsidiaries that sell cancer treating medication – we have to deeply question the glaring limitations of such a system to provide real healing and the impossibility of this system to offer paradigms, belief systems, values, and cultural practices that support us in real health and healing as well. The Health Justice Commons was founded for this purpose.

Though medical science has generated many life-saving techniques and interventions, it is ultimately our own bodies and psyches that do the labor of healing. The right and capacity to heal ourselves and our communities, without giving up our dignity, autonomy or self-determination, without phenomenally high financial cost, is ours to reclaim -- we are all remarkable healers, or else we would not still be here and we are here.

We hope you’ll join our movement. We all have crucial gifts to contribute and we need your voice! Become a member, learn more, join an online course or schedule a training!

The Health Justice Commons is fiscally sponsored by the Social Good Fund, a 501 (c)(3). All gifts are tax-deductible. Donations can be made via check to: SocialGood, PO Box 5473, Richmond, CA 94805. Please place ‘Health Justice Commons’, in the memo.

Online donations can be made via Paypal:, in the ‘Add a Note’ field, please enter ‘Health Justice Commons’.

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