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Policy helps plan for health equity beyond the pandemic.

 

Knocking down barriers will make all of Pierce County healthier. 

Living through this public health emergency is teaching us lessons. This crisis reminds us that our personal health is deeply connected to the health of the entire community. When some are less protected, we all suffer. We need to apply these lessons to life after the pandemic.

Our Pierce County COVID-19 Health Equity Assessment found some groups suffer more than others during the pandemic. Poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and racism leave some people less protected.

We’re working hard . Our equity report shows the symptoms of a larger problem—not everyone has a fair chance to be healthy. Where you live, how much money you make, and your support network are examples of  conditions that influence our health. Racist policies and decisions about social, economic and environmental conditions have created widespread, long-term differences in health outcomes.

We must take this crisis as an opportunity to undo racist and unfair policies and decisions to ensure everyone has a fair chance to be healthy. We must address the policies that have hurt our community the most, so we can all heal.

Where we need to focus.

Pierce County has a strong network of community members and partners committed to equity. Through the pandemic we have been working with them on a  participatory policy pilot project. Participatory policy  allows residents to  shape policy and share power. It connects decision makers with community members to solve problems. This project makes sure health is considered in all policies or what we call Health in All Policies (HiAP).  

  • Our network of partners and community members chose these policy areas: Housing affordability and accessibility.
  • Economic stability.
  • Behavioral and physical healthcare access.
  • COVID-19 specific care.
  • Education access.
  • Youth behavioral health.
  • Early childhood development.
  • Healthy community planning and built environment.
  • Food affordability and accessibility.
  • Social connectedness.

Next, we formed a policy team with community and elected leaders to recommend policies in the top three areas.

Community members are the experts of their community. Their ideas matter. If we address what community members care about, health in Pierce County will improve. The participatory process helps ensure policy solutions reflect community ideas.

How you can help

We need you to participate in policy making! More involvement means a stronger push for pro-equity, anti-racist health policies. If you’re interested, the first step is to connect with our Equity Action Network, or EAN. Sign up for our EAN email list, where you’ll find plenty of opportunities for involvement.  

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