Community-driven solutions to local health disparities
In 2021, Senate Bill 5052 — Concerning the Creation of Health Equity Zones — created an important foundation for the Department of Health (DOH) to support communities in addressing the disparities they want to prioritize.
Using data and support from state epidemiologists, communities that identify as Health Equity Zones will receive ongoing technical assistance to implement projects to improve health in their communities.
Partners in this work will include representatives from communities disproportionately impacted by health inequities, Accountable Communities of Health, Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities, local health jurisdictions, and other community health organizations and agencies.
- 2021 Planning Year
In July 2021, DOH started work with partners to develop a plan and process to select and implement Health Equity Zones across Washington state. The goal is to establish at least two to three zones by the end of the year.
This first year will emphasize developing partnerships and community-centered processes to sustain this work long-term. DOH is also looking for continued funding and other resources that can support the future of Washington's Health Equity Zones.
- Community Advisory Council
The purpose of the Health Equity Zones Community Advisory Council is to convene a group of people to establish the foundation of the new Health Equity Zones Initiative. This group will ensure efforts are community-centered and health equity-driven, with focused attention given to communities experiencing the greatest health inequities. Community representatives will also help identify and shape stories that provide insight on the health inequities facing communities in Washington, and the public health data that document how these groups are disproportionately impacted.
Community representatives will be the majority membership of the Health Equity Zones Community Advisory Council. A total of seven to 14 community representatives will be selected to join the Council. The Community Advisory Council is an early opportunity for community representatives to contribute to the Health Equity Zones Initiative at the ground level. As the initiative continues to develop, there will be additional opportunities, including community engagement meetings.
We received nominations for community representatives in October and November 2021. Nominations are now closed. Everyone who nominated themselves or an individual for consideration on the HEZ council has been invited to participate in HEZ council member selection meetings on December 8, 2021 and January 12, 2022.
To learn more about the Community Advisory Council:
- Find detailed information about the selection criteria, role responsibilities, and time commitment here (PDF).
- View presentation slides (PDF) from our December 8, 2021 council member selection meeting.
- View presentation slides (PDF) from our November 4, 2021 community information and outreach meeting and read our question and answer document (PDF). Watch a video about the HEZ initiative, the council, and nomination process. (Note: This video is a re-recorded version of our November 4 meeting. We created this version because the original video did not record properly in English.)
View our downloadable flyer (PDF) about the Community Advisory Council and share it with your networks. The flyer is also available in the following languages:
Please contact Anne Farrell-Sheffer if you have any questions about the Health Equity Zones Initiative or Community Advisory Council, or would like to access this information in a language other than English.