The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the impact of systemic racism on the health of California’s communities of color which has resulted in a well-documented widening gap in Californian’s life expectancy with Latinx, Black, and Asian populations experiencing a larger decrease in life expectancy in 2020 and 2021 compared to Whites, while Native Americans’ average lifespan is 67 years, a decrease of more than 7 years since 2012.
Subsequent public outcry over the disparate impact of COVID-19, the 2020 police murder of George Floyd and anti-Black violence spurred a public reckoning and a renewed public commitment by state departments and legislative leaders to address California’s long history of racial injustice and the impacts which are felt acutely today. Nationwide, dozens of cities and counties have responded to community calls to declare racism as a public health crisis. Here in California, 34 local jurisdictions declared racism a public health crisis, although the state of California has yet to do so.
In August 2022, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) commissioned the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) to conduct a landscape assessment of California policy efforts to advance health equity. As part of this assessment, CPEHN reviewed published materials, including legislation, public statements, and department and agency reports documenting state initiatives related to equity, specifically health equity and racial equity. In addition, CPEHN interviewed representatives from 11 state agencies, including the California Health and Human Services Agency and its key departments, and interviewed 7 state legislators and legislative staff from the Senate and Assembly. Based on this research, CPEHN assessed the state’s actions and commitments towards addressing health equity and advancing a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce that is responsive to the needs of California’s diverse communities.
View the Time for Change one-pager here.
Interested in learning more?
Register for the Time for Change webinar here.
Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023
Time: 2-3 pm
In this webinar, we will reflect on the strides California state government has made to advance health and racial equity while also reckoning with our state’s history of racism and discrimination, which has embedded inequities over generations. Speakers will highlight different cross-cutting strategies guiding current efforts and provide recommendations for strategies California state government can implement that will lead to more equitable health outcomes and a more just future for California’s communities of color.
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