• Connie Sowa

Anchoring Strong, Healthier and Prosperous Communities on Health Equity


Virtual CPAA Health Equity Mini-Summit

14 January 2022 | 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Health Inequity: A National Concern

There are sound reasons for prioritizing and promoting health equity, a phenomenon that is at the heart of every vibrant community. Health equity is especially more poignant in the United States, where health systems remain highly unequal. Minority populations face troubling health disparities in outcomes, care, and access. These disparities are evident across many dimensions, including race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexual orientation, among others. To illustrate, African American infants are 3.8 times more likely to die from complications related to low birthweight than non-Hispanic White infants[1].

There are concerted efforts to address this problem at different levels of governance. Recently, a Presidential National Strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a twelve-member Task Force[1] was established to provide recommendations to inform Federal response and recovery, address health inequities caused by the pandemic, and for effective outreach and communication to underserved and minority populations[2].


In Washington, the State Department of Health has acknowledged the existence of health inequalities in many communities that are driven and dependent on race, culture, identity, or location. It has also observed inequities exist when there is a difference in health outcomes across different groups of people, and that difference is caused by something that is systematic, avoidable, unfair, and unjust.


ACH’s Health Equity Response

Like other Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs), CPAA is working with a range of local, state, and national partners to advance health equity. Together with its backbone agency, CHOICE Regional Health Network, CPAA strives to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations by addressing social determinants of health, such as food and housing insecurity.


In its 2021 fiscal year, CPAA set aside $170,000 to fund a total of seventeen year-long transformative health equity initiatives across the seven counties of Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Thurston, and Wahkiakum.


These initiatives are implemented by 17 partners in varied settings, including but not limited to clinical and behavioral health arena, social services, capacity building, training and internal review of policies and documents to align with diversity, equity and inclusion perspectives. Activities and work of CHOICE to support communities navigate COVID-19 challenges received a major boost when the CDC Foundation made a generous grant of $100,000 to promote the uptake of the vaccine in the communities of color, that are approximately a quarter of the region’s population of 650,000.


CPAA Health Equity Mini-Summit


CPAA’s commitment to advance health equity includes creating opportunities for partners to share experiences, learn from each other, and tackle common challenges together. We are also documenting evidence-based, best practices with the goal of sharing with a wider audience. It is against this backdrop that CPAA will organize its first of two region wide health equity discussions on January 14, 2022.


While this event, under the theme, Anchoring Strong, Healthier and Prosperous Communities on Health Equity, will bring together the seventeen partners that received CPAA funding, it is open to CHOICE and CPAA fraternity that includes staff and board members, and all our partners, included but not limited to those engaged in ongoing Community CarePort and Washington Care Connect, and the Medicaid Transformation Project. Efforts will be made to mobilize and invite other stakeholders to attend and participate in the event. This event will highlight our work and lay the foundation for a follow up meeting later in the year. Our speakers will address the following three questions.


· Besides social determinants of health, what other factors are impacting/impeding health equity in our communities?

· What are observable trends in health disparities (including COVID 19 testing and vaccination) and what measures are being taken to address inequity?

· What are potential policy and system change opportunities that can improve our work environment and advance health equity?


For additional information contact


Carlos Mejia Rodriguez, Community Outreach Manager, MejiaC@crhn.org

Connie Sowa, Communications Manager, SowaC@crhn.org

Kennedy Chesoli, Director of Programs, chesolik@crhn.org

[1] US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=23 [2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/02/10/president-biden-announces-members-of-the-biden-harris-administration-covid-19-health-equity-task-force/

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