Where we live and the opportunities available to us have a big impact on our health and wellbeing. Laws and policies can create health disparities by providing some individuals and groups with more opportunities and resources for good health than others. Low income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups are disproportionately impacted by discriminatory policies and practices which create barriers to good health (e.g. housing segregation, school funding based on property taxes, discriminatory bank lending practices, etc.). Removing these barriers and achieving health equity requires the use of policies that promote equitable health outcomes to create long-term, positive change.
The Winnebago County Health Department has a full-time Policy & Equity Coordinator who coordinates department efforts in promoting health in all policies and advancing health equity both internally and throughout the community to help assure that health outcomes are not determined by social identity or socially determined group status such as, but not limited to, ability, gender identity, geography, income, or race.
Local health departments collectively have a stronger voice to support and advance public health initiatives when local health officials and staff become involved in the legislative process and share their expertise and experiences with decision makers. The Winnebago County Health Department’s mission is to be “a leader in creating a culture that optimizes health,” and one way to do that is to strategically advocate for better policies that impact health. The Policy & Equity Coordinator promotes health in all policies by reviewing and analyzing existing public policies, developing new policies and plans to support individual and community health efforts, and engaging community leaders and policy makers. The policy & equity coordinator may develop, support, and advocate for public health policies within and outside of the local health department.
To make our efforts more deliberate, internal teams were created within WCHD to work on policy and health equity.
Policy Team Vision & Goals
- Vision: All Winnebago County residents will benefit from policies that promote equitable health outcomes.
- 1. Maintain an internal infrastructure that allows for advocacy and policy work.
- 2. Develop, support, and advocate for public health related policies using a Health in All Policies approach.
Health Equity Team Vision & Goals
- Vision: Health outcomes for residents in Winnebago County will not be determined by social identity or socially determined group status such as, but not limited to, ability, gender identity, geography, income, or race.
- 1. Build health equity into the infrastructure (policy, practice, procedure) of Winnebago County Health Department
- 2. Create an internal culture supporting health equity.
- Equity Value Statement
- Examples of WCHD Health Equity Work
- Health Equity in Winnebago County 2020 -Data
- WCHD Elected Officials Resource Page