Martin Luther King County, WA
Team LeadNgozi Oleru, Public Health – Seattle & King County
Team Profile Summary
In King County, there are racial inequities in well-being that are influenced by such factors as: institutionalized racism, income, access to living-wage jobs, access to education and resource-rich schools, neighborhoods and access to safe, affordable housing, and criminal justice involvement. Racism and its resulting inequities in income, educational attainment, housing, and criminal justice involvement result in health disparities.
Team Profile Details
King County is the largest county in Washington State. Although it ranks among the 100 most affluent counties by income in the United States, King County also has “some of the poorest people in the country such that within miles of each other, affluent and poor communities, the disparity in life expectancy is very high.” In addition the county has inequities and disparities in education, housing, economic development, transportation, criminal justice and other determinants of health. In regards to identifying a focus area, the team chose racism, with a plan to institutionalize equity and social justice within government agencies, branches and departments in King County.
- Increase the capacity of King County departments to identify actions that will increase health and well-being and decrease inequities by developing tools(equity impact review, translation, community engagement). With thes tools, new and existing King County programs, initiatives and policies can be assessed for their impact on equity.
- Give communities a role in the decision making within the county, by enhancing existing efforts to involve the community.
- Have local communities partner with county staff and others to address their issues of concern.
- Work internally in County government to deliver services with an equity lens through actions like diversifying the workforce, creating and maintaining a welcoming workplace and restructuring budgeting and contracting policies and processes.