The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought heightened attention to our nation's local public health departments but has also magnified the immense power they possess during times of crisis. As we transition from short-term emergency response to long-term recovery, the pandemic presents a new opportunity to shape the future of public health programs, policies, and operations. In Southern California, local health jurisdictions (LHJs) - representing nearly 60% of Californians - have committed to enhancing their internal capacity to promote health equity and racial justice. These LHJs have come together as a region to prepare for present and emerging public health challenges in the 21st century.
The Public Health Alliance's Regional Equity Accelerator is an action-oriented community of practice bringing together public health leaders to operationalize equity in Southern California. The Equity Accelerator serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of Alliance members in fostering a regional community driven by collective action, connectivity, and accountability. Through this initiative, LHJs will proactively identify, address, and reimagine strategies to operationalize equity within their contracting and procurement practices, paving the way for transformative change.
Beginning in March 2023, health departments in the Regional Equity Accelerator established cross-departmental Equity Change Teams consisting of Executive Leadership, Health Equity Program Managers, Contracting & Procurement Officers, and others, to begin monthly meetings workshopping actions to adopt and implement structural changes to contracting and procurement procedures. These actions include changes to increase the diversity of community-based partners, reduce administrative burdens in contracting and reporting, invest in community partnership through targeted engagement strategies, and advance equity through community investment, among many others.
Local health jurisdictions from across Southern California are harnessing the power of public health to advance equitable health policies and practices in contracting & procurement as individual departments and in partnership with the communities they serve.
Public health staff across programs and disciplines, including staff from executive leadership, equity offices, contracting & procurement, finance, and others, are coming together to advance and strengthen policies and practices in contracting & procurement that promote health and racial equity across the region.
Accelerator Equity Change Teams will be equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to authentically partner with their community to identify and address barriers to equity in contracting & procurement and become transformational equity leaders and practitioners.
In this session Equity Change Teams worked to develop a shared commitment to advancing regional health equity by participating in the new Equity Accelerator structure and process, established a shared understanding of why Contracting & Procurement is the primary focus area for Equity Accelerator, and obtained a clear understanding of and commitment to completing the Alliance Contracting & Procurement Self-Assessment.
In this session, Equity Change Teams reviewed the goals of the Equity Accelerator, identified existing barrier to equity in current contracting and procurement practices, examined the reasons for current infrastructure, and evaluated their impact. Additionally, teams explored the essential actions required to eliminate these barriers, which included initiating outreach efforts to gather community input.
In this session, Equity Change Teams explored contracting and procurement process changes that have the most immediate opportunity to address equity and evaluated their current and aspirational community engagement practices.
California is home to three regional public health collaboratives based in Southern California, the Bay Area, and the Central Valley. Individually and collectively, these public health collaboratives demonstrate the ability to harness the power of public health at both the local and regional level to advance health and race equity.
Below is a list of aligned public health and equity partner organizations, each bringing a specific focus and lens to the work of advancing health equity and racial justice. These partners have a wide variety of additional resources to support LHJs in their work to build their internal and external capacity to advance equity.
Local Health Jurisdiction Equity Offices
Broader Cross-Governmental Equity Offices
Statewide Equity Offices
The Southern California Regional Equity Learning Collaborative is led, managed and facilitated by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California. If you have questions or would like to learn more about our work, please contact the Public Health Alliance Collaborative Leads.