At the forefront of harnessing data for equitable decision-making and resource allocation is the Alliance’s California Healthy Places Index (HPI.)
HPI addresses a critical gap in the presentation and utilization of social determinants of health data through its race and place lens, and proved essential in the pandemic response.
Many local counties utilized the HPI to allocate testing and vaccine resources to disproportionately impacted communities and tailor outreach strategies. HPI informed California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, directing $272 million in investments to communities most affected by the pandemic. San Diego County employed HPI for equitable distribution of $100 million in COVID-19 Emergency Rental Aid, prioritizing applicants in the two lowest HPI quartiles. Kaiser Permanente Southern California harnessed HPI data to develop a place-based strategy,
improving COVID-19 vaccine accessibility in marginalized communities. Their hot-spotting approach proved effective, with over two-thirds of vaccine recipients being Hispanic or Black. The Newsom Administration also used HPI
to create a Vaccine Equity Metric, allocating 40% of doses to the 400 most pandemic-affected ZIP codes.
During the pandemic, the Alliance also established its Regional Equity Learning Collaborative
(RELC), to provide foundational learning related to addressing equity challenges and opportunities in Southern California. The RELC brought together public health departments committed to advancing equity and laid the foundation for emergent Equity Change Teams. Its key focus areas included addressing racism as a public health crisis, fostering genuine community engagement and co-creation, promoting workforce equity, and implementing equitable data practices.
Working with our Equity Change Teams during the COVID-19 pandemic elevated the essential role small CBOs played in Southern California’s emergency and recovery response, offering outreach, education, and other services. However, this has financially strained many of them. Equity Change Teams highlighted that the COVID-19 emergency exposed barriers in LHJ contracting and procurement processes. When asked about their top three supports during the COVID-19 public health crisis, 77% of CBOs surveyed in this Alliance report
listed funding, grants, and other types of emergency aid as their top support. Nearly 48% of CBOs
emphasized technical assistance would positively impact their ability to quickly apply for funding. In response, the Alliance launched its Regional Equity Accelerator, a community of practice uniting public health leaders to operationalize equity in Southern California by engaging cross-departmental Equity Change Teams to adopt and implement structural changes to contracting and procurement procedures.