Arnold X. Perkins Award for Outstanding Health Equity Practice
2019 Awardee | Riverside County Department of Public Health
Affordable housing barriers are one of many discriminatory policies and systems that prevent formerly incarcerated individuals from re-entering society and thriving. The Riverside County Department of Public Health partnered with the community-based organization Starting Over Inc. through the Power-Building Partnerships for Health pilot project to advance health equity by reducing housing discrimination for formerly incarcerated populations and changing dominant narratives about the justice system. The partnership brought together community members and government leaders from the Housing Authority, District Attorney’s Office, Probation Department, Public Health, and the Executive Office for a Partnerships for Equity community forum to discuss housing barriers for formerly incarcerated populations and sharing lived experiences of oppression during re-entry. Through ongoing collaboration, key themes have emerged such as the need for identifying sharable resources and creating policy platforms to increase access and improve housing quality for impacted communities. These partnerships help shift power imbalances by increasing access to County systems and structures to enhance community input in policy decisions that influence health and well-being for under-served populations.
from left: Kim Saruwatari, director Riverside University Health System Public Health, Diane Liebrandt, Community Engagement Coordinator, Riverside County Department of Public Health, Salomeh Wagaw, Epidemiologist, Riverside County Department of Public Health, Vonya Quarles, executive director, Starting Over, and Michael Osur, assistant director, chief health strategist, Riverside University Health System Public Health, pose with their Advancing Health Equity Award at the Dec. 3 ceremony in Oakland, CA. Photo courtesy of The California Endowment.