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Health Equity Zones Initiative submission period now open for native communities

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is pleased to announce submissions are now open to select the state’s tribal or urban native community for the Health Equity Zones Initiative. Tribal and urban native communities from across Washington are encouraged to apply during the open submission process now through Wednesday, May 22. 

“DOH recognizes that people who are most impacted by health inequities are closest to the solutions that will improve their health,” said Michele Roberts, Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Community Health, DOH. “We’re excited to launch the native communities portion of the Health Equity Zones Initiative and continue building engagement with tribal and urban native partners across the state of Washington.”

Following the selection of last year’s rural and urban health equity zones, one tribal or urban native community will be selected by the Indigenous Advisory Panel, which was convened to design the health equity zones for native communities process. The selected native community will receive flexible funding of $200,000 per year for two years that can be used to develop organizational infrastructure to support community decision-making, identify health priorities, and develop culturally relevant strategies to improve health outcomes. DOH is committed to securing additional funding to support the implementation of the selected strategies.

“Through a collaborative effort with DOH, we have been honored to design a funding opportunity specifically for native communities,” said the Indigenous Advisory Panel in a group statement. “The process we have designed takes a strength-based approach, honors indigenous practices, and lays a framework for government entities to better collaborate with native communities. Our hope is that leaders and organizers are inspired to collaborate with one another, and exchange ideas for culturally relevant strategies that will contribute to the health of our native communities.”

Information and workshop sessions will be held on Thursday, April 18 (noon to 2 p.m.) and Wednesday, May 8 (6 to 8 p.m.) to provide an overview of the submission form and selection process for interested applicants. Staff and Indigenous Advisory Panel members will be available to answer questions. More information, including additional workshop sessions and meeting Zoom links, can be found at the Healthier Washington Collaboration Portal.