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Keeping Equity Front and Center


The coming months will ask us to continue sheltering in place, to be extra vigilant in order to reduce the community spread of COVID-19. The state, counties, and tribes are directing community members to Stay Home, Stay Healthy. This doesn’t have to mean cutting ourselves off from those around us – we need social engagement even more; we just have to get creative about it. Book clubs using live video chatting, family calls using video technology on our phones, watching movies with friends even when in separate places. Staying connected will help us through this period, and watching out for those in our family, neighborhood, and community who could use some connectivity with others. PLEASE continue to follow the public health directives coming from your leaders!  (For links to your local health department and other COVID-19 resources, visit this page on our website.

I recently shared with our Board that in times of crisis commitments are often prioritized, with some getting put on a back burner, until we get back to ‘normal.’ When it comes to race, disparate access to resources, and who has the power/privilege of having their voice(s) heard, we believe our commitment to equity and wellbeing must stay front and center. A couple of articles recently published raise questions about what COVID-19 is unsurfacing: an inequitable health care system, data gaps, and the differences between those who can more easily follow guidelines about staying at home and working remotely and keeping a physical distance from others. For so many in the community, ‘normal’ wasn’t good before, and so how can we avoid going back to it when COVID-19 begins its downward curve?As many of you know, our team has been working with john.a powell, director of the Othering & Belonging Institute, as well as the teams from SEED Collaborative, Community Initiatives, Children of the Setting Sun and others to continue moving equity work forward.  On March 18, john powell published a blog asking us all to find solidarity and belonging while we are asked to be physically distant. You can read his blog post here, called As We Spatially Separate We Must Also Stay Connected. Our team was especially struck by the notion of reframing social distancing and social isolation to physical distancing and social solidarity. While COVID-19 can create fear, it is times like this when denouncing racism, finding connectivity, and supporting those who are furthest from access is most critical. We’re sharing a few short pieces with you, but there are many more being published. Thanks for staying on this journey with us.

~ Liz Baxter, CEO

COVID-19: The Painful Price of Ignoring Health Inequities  
Opinion: Social Distancing During the Coronavirus Pandemic is a Privilege
Location Data Says It All: Staying at Home During Coronavirus Is a Luxury
Integrated Managed Care Support for BH Providers during COVID-19  
The HCA expects MCOs to release funds to ensure adequate access to behavioral health services while transitioning to telehealth/telemedicine services. This link will take you to the HCA page that also links to a fact sheet about the intended support. Contact with questions.
New Dashboards Make COVID-19 Data Visual
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) changed how COVID-19 information appears on our website. It is now in a data dashboard with new visualizations and metrics. Learn more here.
HCA Provides Access to Zoom Licenses 
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Care Authority (HCA) has purchased a limited number of licenses for Zoom, a video conferencing technology that helps health care providers continue seeing patients without a physical encounter. There are a limited number remaining. Please click this link to get to the HCA page with more information.  
Questions on Federal Loans?
Our colleagues at Larson Gross are joining us for an open office hours call on Wednesday, April 15 at 10:00 am to offer information on the basics of federal loan programs related to COVID-19 and address questions from partners.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 763 376 685
To join by phone: (669) 900-6833
Children of the Setting Sun Productions Launches Online Series
“One From the Heart” Children of the Setting Sun Productions, a partner to the ACH on our Tribal and Equity Learning Journey, is live-streaming a series of conversations to bring us closer together while we physically distance ourselves through the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing together tribal elders, teachers, front line health providers, funders, and other partners, these episodes are an opportunity to nourish the soul through this unusual period of time. Check out the videos at their Facebook page at this link. 
County Leaders Launch Video Series 
Skagit County Public Health has launched a video project called “Conversations: COVID-19” to facilitate inclusive discussion on the realities, challenges and possibilities of life in the time of COVID-19. Check out episodes at this link.

Whatcom County has a series of county leaders talking about their COVID response campaign, “We’re in this Together”.  Check it out on their youtube channel.

For links to other health department and COVID-19 resources, visit our website.
In the News 
Native American tribe takes trailblazing steps to fight COVID-19 outbreak