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Board of Health signals its commitment to Equity and Social Justice

Summary

Adopted resolution calls for applying “fair and just” principle to development of health policy

Story

The King County Board of Health today reaffirmed its commitment to the elimination of health inequities by unanimously adopting a resolution applying the “fair and just” principle of the King County Strategic Plan in the development of county health programs and policies.

“King County residents are some of the nation’s healthiest – on average. When you examine health outcomes just a bit closer, you see that the health discrepancies between different populations – for example where someone lives or how much someone makes – are among our nation’s worst,” said Metropolitan King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Board of Health. “For the Board of Health to truly improve the health of all King County residents, we must consider these inequities as part of our legislative process.”

“This Board of Health resolution is an important step in expanding good health to all our residents and creating the kinds of communities where people can achieve their full potential,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County.

Launched by County Executive Ron Sims in 2008, the goal of the Equity and Social Justice Initiative (ESJI) is to eliminate long-standing and persistent inequities and social injustices within King County by applying the principles of the equity and social justice in the County’s actions, decisions, and policies. Through adoption of the King County Strategic Plan 2010-2014: Working Together for One King County, King County changed its work on equity and social justice from an initiative to an integrated effort that applies the county strategic plan’s principle of “fair and just” intentionally in all the county does in order to achieve equitable opportunities for all people and communities.

In October 2010, the King County Council adopted legislation that establishes definitions and directs implementation steps related to achievement of the fair and just principle that is embedded within the goals, objectives and strategies of the King County Strategic Plan (KCSP)—the roadmap to use in meeting the challenges facing King County over the next five years and beyond.

The adopted resolution commits the Board of Health to considering equity and fairness in all health policy development. The Board’s goal is to ensure that its decisions increase fairness and opportunity for all people, particularly people of color, low-income communities and people with limited English proficiency and, when decisions that have a negative impact on fairness and opportunity are unavoidable, implementing steps to mitigate the negative impact.



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