RWJF Interview with King County PLACE MATTERS Team: Institutionalizing Equity

New PM Logo 2012 (1)

PLACE MATTERS is a national initiative of the Joint Center, designed to build the capacity of local leaders around the country to identify and improve social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health. Interviews with six of the PLACE MATTERS teams were featured last week in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s NewPublicHealth blog. Follow along as we post excerpts throughout the week on why #PlaceMatters is key to eliminating health disparities.

Below is an excerpt from the Martin Luther King, Jr. County, Washington PLACE MATTERS team:

“When we started Place Matters, the project was about racism, and as you might guess that’s not a word that a lot of people are comfortable with,” she said [Ngozi Oleru, director of the King County Health Department Environmental Health Services Division and King County Place Matters team leader]. “So we started out naming it equity and social justice to begin to meet people where they are, and as part of our growth we’re getting to a point now where we’re actually able to use the word racism.”

Oleru explains that last fall an exhibit on race came to Seattle. The county council went to see the exhibit together and then two weeks later held a public meeting on racism.

One critical thing the team has tried not to do in its work is to create a check list and check things off as if to say, “we’ve done it, we’re through.” Oleru said the county, at all levels, is making a conscious effort to have equity embedded “for this to be the way we work and not just something we do after we’ve done something else. We want this lens to be second nature.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s