Paj and DH go way back. Years before joining our team, Paj was a client of DH and collaborated on a statewide adolescent health campaign. In late 2021, he consulted with DH as part of our agency’s health equity and DEI training. More recently, Paj served as director of community relations at the Department of Health, where he championed the link between community health and social justice.
Paj’s take on:
Reflecting multiple worldviews
It’s important that organizations make equity and inclusion integral parts of their policies and identities, Paj says, because they can’t meet the needs of the communities they’re serving if they’re not doing it in ways that are meaningful and authentic to those audiences. Organizations must commit to equity goals and examine internal power structures, because the real work happens through undoing harmful practices and policies.
If we don’t reflect the lived experiences and the voices of the audiences we’re trying to reach, then we’re not really being responsive or relevant
“If you are the leader of an organization and committed to advancing equity, educate yourself, empower yourself to really lead with that lens, and then spread that energy throughout your organization. Because it truly does start at the top. You really need an engaged leadership to make sure there’s follow-through on key decisions about policies and resource allocation.”
In his free time, Paj practices Indian classical music (Dhrupad) and still manages to occasionally dance to Bollywood movie tunes (he recently belonged to a Seattle-based dance troupe). He practiced vocal music as a kid but stepped away from it in his teens and 20s, and it has since come back into his life in a big way.
“I have an amazing teacher who’s my guide in my life, and a music circle that gets together and connects. It’s what centers me,” Paj says. “Bollywood dancing is a more visceral and physically expressive complement to my meditative music practice. It’s really fun; it’s like my alter ego comes out.”
BS, Community Health, Western Washington University
MPH, Global Health Promotion & Policy, George Washington University