In 2017, a group of Orange County Health Department (OCHD) staff members began a health equity journey to ensure that all members of the community receive health services and support based on their needs and not their race. The health department has since made many strides towards becoming more equitable. In an effort to invite the Orange County community to grow together in this work, as well as to stay accountable to the community, the OCHD has launched a health equity webpage.
On June 16, 2020 the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved a declaration of structural racism as a public health crisis in Orange County and committed to working to dismantle structural racism in order to improve health outcomes for the whole community. The OCHD acknowledges that public health is a system that was and continues to be structurally and foundationally built on racist policies, practices, and procedures. Due to this history, OCHD must actively work to gain the public’s trust and to change the department to become a more equitable system. OCHD also acknowledges that our county's marginalized populations face barriers across systems due to racial inequities in housing, banking, education, employment, etc. all of which contribute to poor health outcomes.
The equity webpage contains resources for those who are engaged or would like to become engaged in equity work, as well as self-care resources, examples other organizations who are doing equity work, and also celebrates some of the strides that the health department has made. The site hopes to engage the community in a conversation about equity and to provide a space for feedback in order to be accountable. The website will be updated regularly, and the community is invited to visit the page often for more information and resources.