The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on our nation’s local public health departments, bringing unprecedented scrutiny while underscoring the incredible power of public health in times of crisis. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new moment to define the course for the future of public health, one where health equity and racial justice are interwoven throughout and are primary outcomes in all public health programs and operations. In Southern California, local health jurisdictions (LHJs), representing close to 60% of Californians, have committed to building their internal capacity to advance health equity and racial justice; coming together as a region to prepare themselves for the present and emerging public health challenges of the 21st century.
The inaugural Public Health Alliance Regional Equity Learning Collaborative (Alliance Equity Collaborative) will launch with a two-year, cross-departmental collaborative of public health departments throughout Southern California committed to advancing equity locally and creating a vision for equity for the region. Led by the Public Health Alliance, the Collaborative brings together public health leaders from across disciplines, including health and race equity, epidemiology, environmental health, health education, and more. Through their participation, Alliance Equity Collaborative participants will have the opportunity to learn from public health leaders from across the region, identify promising practices for advancing equity both here in California and across the nation, and co-create solutions in partnership with the communities they serve.
Local health jurisdictions from across Southern California are harnessing the power of public health to advance equitable health policies and practices 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, epidemiology, health education, human resources, and others, are coming together to advance and strengthen policies, programs, and practices that promote health and racial equity across the region.
Local health jurisdiction Equity Change Teams will be equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to become transformational equity leaders and practitioners.
Local health jurisdictions will explore the fundamental steps needed to enhance local departmental and regional infrastructure and capacity for advancing health equity and racial justice. We will elevate promising models and practices to establish a robust equity team, strategies for strengthening cross-departmental capacity to advance equity, and potential key roles of equity staff.
Local health jurisdictions will gain a shared foundational understanding of racism’s role as a root cause driver of inequitable health outcomes. Participants will learn from and identify opportunities for LHJs to advance racial equity both internally (e.g., departments, cross-governmental) and externally (e.g., community advisory boards, action plans) in partnership with the communities they serve. We’ll discuss strategies and promising practices, such as racial equity plans and community-based partnerships to pursue cross-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral commitments to addressing racism as a public health crisis.
Local health jurisdictions will explore community-informed approaches that support authentic engagement and the co-creation of solutions with community members most impacted by inequities. Participants will dive deep into promising practices, gain an understanding of equity-centered engagement, and explore exciting partnerships happening between LHJs and community partners, such as tribal groups, community-based organizations, and faith-based leaders here in California and across the nation.
To proactively meet the challenges of the COVID-19 response and recovery process, as well as future workforce considerations, LHJs will need to hire and retain a multi-skilled, diverse, and community-based workforce. In this session, LHJs will focus on planning for equity in workforce development by leading with intentional and explicit equity, working collaboratively with community to understand their needs, and prioritizing workforce development strategies that offer shared, direct, and multiple benefits to communities. Participants will explore practice and policy changes that ensure equitable and inclusive recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion processes.
Local health jurisdictions will learn how to harness data at the local level to advance equity. We’ll cover best and emerging practices for handling both quantitative and qualitative data and focus on tools to leverage local data for equity. Using lessons from the COVID-19 crisis to spotlight the critical need for equitable data collection, disaggregation, analysis and sharing, we’ll discuss gaps in individual departmental data capacity and regional inconsistencies in data practices. We’ll conclude with an exploration of approaches to data equity that center the lived experience of communities most impacted by inequities in the decision-making process.
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
Equity Offices housed in other government departments or agencies
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.