Governing For Racial And Cultural Equity In Health Services

Jan 18, 2016

Recorded on: January 15th, 2016

Air Date: January 18th, 2016

Local governments in Oregon are using transformative tools to improve planning, decision-making, and resource allocation leading to more racially equitable health policies and programs.  The public, and hence government officials, are expressing growing interest in answering questions such as: “How do governments choose approaches and responses to current social, economic, and political conditions?” “Are we ensuring indigenous and migrant residents receive health service programs?”

Our three panelists bring their expertise on health, equity, and government to this cutting-edge discussion on the future of public health. Speakers from three different governments will share new approaches. Multnomah County has recently adopted Governing for Racial Equity Lens. The City of Portland has identified equity as the overarching goal of the City’s new 25 year strategic plan, putting equity at the center of programming and policy processes such as the Climate Action Plan. Equity initiatives occupy a position of increasing importance in Lane County health services.

All three governments are finding that identifying institutional and structural racism can help eliminate the root causes of health inequities and social injustice.

Ben Duncan is the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer and Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity for Multnomah County. He is also a founding board member of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon; he organizes people with low incomes and people of color to build power for Environmental Justice and Civil Rights in the community. His work focuses on the relationships between social, economic, and environmental conditions, on one hand, and racial and ethnic disparities, on the other hand.  Ben is co-chair of Region X Health Equity Council through US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, and serves as Chair of the Oregon Governor's Environmental Justice Task Force.

Desirée Williams-Rajee is currently the Equity Specialist for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. In her professional role, she guides internal culture change to promote diversity and inclusion and provides technical assistance in applying an equity lens to the Bureau’s programs, policy development, and services.  She has played an integral role in the development of City of Portland equity initiatives, including the creation of the Office of Equity and the integration of equity into the 2015 Climate Action Plan for the City of Portland and Multnomah County. She has served in a variety of community leadership roles with organizations such as the Center for Diversity and the Environment, the Portland African-American Leadership Forum, and the June Key Delta Community Center, run by the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.

Dr. Patrick Luedtke, MD, MPH, is Lane County’s Senior Public Health Officer and the Medical Director for its six Community Health & Behavioral Health clinics. Dr. Luedtke received his MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin/Marquette University. He completed his Preventive Medicine training and earned a graduate degree in Public Health at the University of Utah and studied Internal Medicine at Naval Hospital Oakland (California). Prior to coming to Oregon, he spent 11 years in Utah at the State Health Department, where he served as the State Public Health Laboratory Director, Deputy State Epidemiologist, Acting State Epidemiologist, and Adult Medicine Director (Medicaid clinics). He also taught courses in environmental health and toxicology at the University of Utah. Dr. Luedtke served 12 years as an active duty Medical Officer in the U.S. Navy, practicing medicine and public health on all three of America’s coasts, as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America.

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