Spokane County Board of Health Approves Health Equity Resolution

Spokane County Board of Health Approves Health Equity Resolution

Aug 05, 2020

Media Contact:  Kelli Hawkins (509) 994-8968 | khawkins@srhd.org

Spokane, Wash - The Spokane County Board of Health passed a resolution July 30, 2020, explicitly confirming their collective commitment to break the cycle of health inequity and structural racism in Spokane County.

“We know that health disparities and a long-running racial divide have existed in Spokane County due to the inequitable distribution of power and resources, as well as systematic racism and other socioeconomic inequities,” said Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs, Policy Chair of the Board of Health. “The only way to change this is to acknowledge it and center it as we try to learn from the mistakes of our past and build a better community where all residents of Spokane County are served with equity and fairness.”

The Board of Health met virtually on Thursday, June 25, 2020, and agreed to take immediate action though a resolution. The resolution was finalized yesterday. It confirms that historical racism, current limitations and access to nutritious food, reduced life expectancy, increased exposure to indoor environmental hazards and higher rates of infant mortality demonstrate the current impact of structural racism.

The resolution makes real commitments that include:

  • Applying a health equity lens to internal programs, policies, services, and interventions
  • Leading and engaging the community, partners and other local jurisdictions in strategic partnerships to develop and implement public policies for the purposes of eliminating health inequities
  • Advance health equity by providing health education, health communications and other public information about community health status and needs, to include health determinants
  • Call-to-action and champion transformative change to advance health equity through supporting ongoing, all-staff development in health equity, cultural competency, and anti-racism
  • Apply strategies for recruiting and hiring a workforce that reflects the demographic, cultural and linguistic characteristics of the Spokane County population

Read the full resolution. Mary Kuney, Spokane County Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Spokane Regional Health District’s Board of Health, stated, “This declaration and our commitment to health equity are critical components to our mission of moving forward together. Recognizing health inequities in our community and working together are vital. We must pledge to do more by showing our commitment at every level, putting resources behind our intentions, and working collectively to progress towards meaningful and lasting change.”