Healthy Whatcom is the group guiding Whatcom County’s community health improvement process. We believe in data-driven results, with a focus on racial equity, to improve health outcomes for children and families.
what we do:
Community Health Improvement
Healthy Whatcom works to advance justice through the stewardship of the community health improvement process in Whatcom County, WA. We have come together to build a community that is not only inclusive but where everyone belongs. We want to eliminate inequities caused by systemic racism, and we believe in the power of individuals to dismantle systems and build the community we want to live in.
We center our work on the principles of racial equity and health equity so that children of all races and ethnicities can thrive through fair and just opportunities to be as healthy as possible. We work to address socioeconomic stressors and inequities, challenge historic areas of oppression, and commit to the stewardship of our shared natural resources.
Community health improvement is a cyclical process, where new priorities are established based on the most recent data, building upon the work done in previous cycles. Each cycle also builds upon existing efforts in the community, working to change the underlying factors negatively affecting community health.
Healthy Whatcom is building actions plans around 3 Priorities:
- Building resilience through investments in child & youth mental health
- Creating a strong foundation for children through early learning & care
- Increasing stability through housing for families & children
How We DO iT:
Racial Equity and data-driven results
At its core, community health improvement is about advancing health equity, so that people of all races and ethnicities have fair and just opportunities to be as healthy as possible. In 2020, the Whatcom County Council declared racism a public health crisis. This declaration acknowledged racism has been built into our societal systems, and that by changing these systems we will improve health outcomes for all people in the community. Healthy Whatcom works to eliminate health inequities caused by systemic racism and white supremacy. To do this, we strive to shift power to communities of color, create systems-level change, and center the voices and experiences of the marginalized in all our work. For Healthy Whatcom, the way we do our work is just as important as the work itself.
To stay true to our values, we frame our work with The Groundwater Approach from the Racial Equity Institute. The groundwater is a metaphor for structural racism in the US, and is founded on three principles:
- Racial inequity looks the same across all systems
- Socioeconomic differences do not explain racial inequity
- Inequities are caused by systems, regardless of culture or behavior
To ensure our decisions are data-informed at each level of planning, we utilize a Results-Based Accountability (RBA) process to ensure decisions are informed by the data at each level of planning. RBA is a step-by-step process that starts with the result we want to see for our community, identifies powerful indicators in need of improvement, and develops a shared action plan.
We acknowledge, with humility, that we reside on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Lummi, Nooksack, Samish, Semiahmoo, and Skagit peoples who have been protecting and celebrating life on their lands, waters, and air since time immemorial.
We recognize that we benefit directly and indirectly from residing on colonized land. Let us stand with our neighbors and support causes championed by our Indigenous communities.