Alameda County is in the early stages of developing a comprehensive racial equity initiative. As is the case with many successful efforts across GARE’s network, the county’s efforts started within an agency already prioritizing equity: The Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD). As an early step towards normalizing racial equity as a government priority, the ACPHD released the report Life and Death from Unnatural Causes in 2008, which provided a framework for health equity based on the social determinants of health and guided by a focus on policy/practice actions to address health inequities.
That same year, ACPHD also launched Place Matters, a local initiative to raise health and equity considerations in local policy decisions. These actions helped normalize and prioritize racial and health equity as an overarching goal for the county’s public health work.
Given the department’s focus and work on equity, ACPHD was invited to join GARE in 2015 as a sponsor of Alameda County’s overall participation in the network, which the Board of Supervisors approved. As a part of its emerging comprehensive racial equity initiative, ACPHD is currently working with other county agencies to identify ways for all to contribute to the larger equity efforts. The health department will convene a countywide workgroup of different departments to identify and implement countywide pilot projects and develop a countywide racial equity plan with the long-term goal of developing an ordinance to support the racial equity plan and a long-term home for the initiative within Alameda County.