JHA is off to APHA: Health equity at work

JHA is presenting at the American Public Health Association conference in DC on November 1 at 2:30 pm.  We would love to see you there.

Health equity at work: Training at Whatcom County Health Department

Linn Gould (JHA), Liz Mogford (Western Washington University), and Astrid Newell (Whatcom County Health Department)

This session highlights Whatcom County Health Department’s (Washington State) experience in educating and empowering staff to take action on the social determinants of health (SDOH) and  health inequities. In 2010, the Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) completed a strategic plan with a primary goal of advancing health equity. Reinforcing and supporting a skilled and informed workforce was identified as a key strategy. As part of this strategy, WCHD contracted with Just Health Action (JHA), a non-profit health advocacy organization, to teach a series of 5 four-hour workshops to health department staff over a ten month period. The first workshop was a training on the SDOH offered to the entire Health Department staff. The subsequent workshops were conducted with a “health equity” team to discuss how department staff might reconceptualize their work to focus on taking action on the root causes of health inequities identified in the county. Through the workshops, WCHD staff increased their knowledge about underlying causes of health inequities, learned elements needed to become effective advocates for social change, and acquired skills to take action on the SDOH.  JHA will present its health equity framework, describe the workshop series, explain issues that staff faced in operationalizing SDOH at WCHD, discuss actions taken to improve health equity at both the department and county level, and review evaluations on WCHD’s change in knowledge, attitudes, skills, and intentions to address health equity.

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