Advancing Health Equity Awards, 2017: Highlighting innovative health equity practice in California public health departments
We know that the places where we live, learn, work, and play not only influence health outcomes, but that they do so even more than medicine or genetics. Policies and practices associated with a wide range of environmental and social issues, from air pollution to political disenfranchisement, are also causing entire groups to lead shorter, sicker lives than others. These case studies from PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group show how much progress health departments in California's Monterey, Napa and San Mateo counties have made toward addressing racial and health inequities through innovative solutions, community power-building, and effective communication.
Just as our environments can be designed in ways that harm health, they can also be redesigned in ways that promote it. To that end, local health departments across California have been busy brainstorming how they can play a role in crafting and implementing solutions, and a growing number are expanding their traditional, service-driven scopes of work and striving to advance health equity.
To recognize exemplary health department practices, support their innovative efforts, and encourage a new standard for health equity practice work in California and beyond, The California Endowment created the Advancing Health Equity Awards— a ceremony and set of grants aimed at accelerating progress, lifting up examples of promising initiatives to advance health equity, and inspiring more health departments to take on this challenging but critical work. In 2017, the planning committee named three awardees: the Public Health Division of Napa County's Health and Human Services Agency, the Health, Policy and Planning Program of the San Mateo County Health System, and the Monterey County Health Department.
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In this blog post, BMSG's Katherine Schaff looks at 4 lessons we can learn from the health department awardees in Monterey, Napa, and San Mateo counties.