The Orange County Health Department (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 grow 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. This is why Health Director Quintana Stewart declared Structural Racism a public health crisis.
In 2017, a courageous group of staff began a health equity journey to ensure all members of the community receive health services and support based on their needs and not their race. This health equity webpage was created to help others in our community grow with us in this work, to show our community what strides we have made in this work, and to help us stay accountable to our community.
This webpage will be updated on a regular basis ensuring that OCHD not only addresses the bookends of race (black and white), but also includes information and resources about all groups who have been marginalized throughout history and today. We welcome our community to check back in regularly for new information and to provide any feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press Release: Orange County Health Department Launches Health Equity Webpage, February 28, 2021
Engage in self-care and healing to balance life and to better improve health, with the acknowledgement that mind, body, and spirit are interconnected
View and hold accountable the work the department is engaged in an effort to grow its equity lens.
Grow your equity lens: find podcasts, TV/Movies, books, training opportunities and more
Read highlights on equity from local and national channels
Find local, statewide, and nationwide opportunities to join organizations involved in moving equity work forward
Follow and learn from organizations and people to follow and learn from who are committed to health and racial equity and social justice work
*Disclaimer: We reference many other organizations and works throughout our equity pages. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by those individuals and organizations do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Orange County Health Department. We are attempting to grow our equity lens, so we can better serve our community. We are not experts in equity so we research and find a variety of resources for our institutional use and may share it here.
Book of the month:
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
A book steeped in empathy and insight, Caste explores, through layered analysis and stories of real people, the structure of an unspoken system of human ranking and reveals how our lives are still restricted by what divided us centuries ago.
“Modern-day caste protocols,” Wilkerson writes, “are often less about overt attacks or conscious hostility. They are like the wind, powerful enough to knock you down but invisible as they go about their work.”
Wilkerson rigorously defines eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, heredity, and dehumanization. She documents the parallels with two other hierarchies in history, those of India and of Nazi Germany, and no reader will be left without a greater understanding of the price we all pay in a society torn by artificial divisions.
“The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality,” Wilkerson writes. “It is about power — which groups have it and which do not.”