243327 Health equity at work: Training at Whatcom County Health Department

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM

C. Linn Gould, MS, MPH , Just Health Action, Seattle, WA
Elizabeth Mogford, PhD, MPH , Sociology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Astrid Newell, MD , Whatcom County Health Department, Bellingham, WA
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.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify the difference between an action intended to improve health that focuses on individual health behavior change versus population health change. 2.Describe 3 barriers and 3 opportunities to operationalize the social determinants of health in a county health department and/or the community.

Keywords: Professional Training, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal health equity educator for this training
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.