Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined with the Los Angeles County Health Agency and community organizations in announcing the release of a new plan that promotes health equity countywide.
Over the next five years, the Health Agency and other partners to sustain efforts to reduce and eliminate some of the biggest gaps in health outcomes. Priorities include improving birth outcomes for black babies who currently die at three times the rate of white babies in the County, as well as reducing disproportionally high rates of sexually transmitted infections among men having sex with men, black women, and transgender residents.
“Health equity is essential in a society that values the wellbeing of all its members, to ensure that no one is left behind simply because of where they live and other factors,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion to create the Center for Health Equity within the County Department of Public Health. He added, “We have an obligation to avoid exacerbating health disparities in our communities, and to reverse them.”
The plan is a call to action to advance health equity so that everyone has access to the resources and opportunities they need for optimal health and well-being in the County.
“In Los Angeles County, there are stark differences in health outcomes based on race and ethnicity, geography and income,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “The action plan is a set of strategic priorities and is a public commitment to achieving a set of well-defined equity goals to close gaps. These activities will build a movement toward ensuring everyone in the county can reach their fullest potential.”
“Equity shouldn’t be an aspiration in our society but rather a basic human right,” Community Health Councils CEO Veronica Flores said. “To ensure this basic right is operationalized throughout our County, the action plan will offer a clear path to accountability and strategy.”
The plan focus areas include:
- Reducing the gap in black infant mortality by 30% in 5 years;
- Eliminating congenital syphilis entirely in 5 years;
- Reducing hazardous exposures to harmful toxins in low-income communities;
- Improving health outcomes for residents with complex health needs;
- Ensuring health agency services are accessible and culturally and linguistically appropriate.