Department forges pathways to equity
New strategies make HE & EJ measures part of doing business

As the department continues working toward health equity and environmental justice, a collaborative of more than 70 employees is joining forces with various divisions to help find effective strategies to accomplish those goals.

Formed in 2012, the Health Equity and Environmental Justice Collaborative works to build an organizational culture that empowers staff to find ways to minimize inequities. To achieve that, though, staff must have a thorough understanding of the issues, and that’s not as easy as it might seem.


“Health equity isn't an easy topic. It has many nuances, and some may not even agree that it should be a priority,” said Tara Trujillo, a chronic disease specialist in the Prevention Services Division and member of the collaborative. Most people, she said, understand the concept of equality – making the same services available to everyone. When the conversation evolves into equity, it gets a little more complicated.


“If you think about a running race, equality means everyone starts at the same place and has the same chance to achieve the same goals,” Trujillo said. “Equity accounts for the fact that some racers are starting from miles further back, some racers don't have shoes, some racers have never raced before, and some racers couldn't make it to the race in the first place.” ... more