Skip to main content Skip to site navigation

Racial Equity and Health


Racial Equity and Health

Racial equity, and social equity more broadly, have become critical conversations for jurisdictions across the United States and locally. Numerous data points indicate inequitable outcomes for people of color across a spectrum of indicators of health and prosperity. These numbers demonstrate the deep challenges that people of color face in their daily lives and have for generations. The racial inequities we see today were not created over months, but decades and centuries. COVID-19 and the ensuing economic downturn have both illuminated and exacerbated the existing inequities and elevated them to point of overwhelming crisis.

The infographic image above shows health and prosperity racial inequities in San Mateo County and shares recommendations for San Mateo County residents and institutions to advance racial health equity and outlines ongoing efforts by San Mateo County Health to ensure our institution advances racial equity.

Get Healthy San Mateo County advances racial health equity through all our initiatives. Equity is part of our long-term mission, vision and a lens we bring to all our efforts. Each of our priority areas of focus are selected for their ability to advance equity and our approaches towards those focus areas are designed to overcome inequities. Please refer to those focus areas to learn more. Here, we’d like to highlight a few specific efforts:

  1. Democratizing data: our data dashboard includes local health equity indicators that, when possible, are disaggregated by race and ethnicity. This data can help residents and decisionmakers to inform policies and programs that can build healthier and more equitable communities.
  2. Budget Equity Tools: we are compiling promising practices from local jurisdictions around the country that are approaching their allocation of public resources with a racial equity lens.
  3. Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE): San Mateo County Health has been part of GARE, a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all, for the last four years. GARE presented a Racial Equity Toolkit Analysis Template that anyone can pick up and use to bring an equity lens to their work. With a Racial Equity Action Plan in place and a multi-divisional workgroup working to operationalize racial health equity in County Health.
  4. Community Priorities for COVID; This Community Priorities During COVID-19 document covers 13 themes identified by local grassroots partners, residents and leaders in our most impacted communities to ensure that COVID-19 response and recovery efforts prioritize impacted communities. The list has been shared with over 1,000 residents, including community partners, local elected officials, and city and county staff. 
  5. Embedding Equity into Emergency Response: As jurisdictions struggle with emergency response to COVID-19, coupled with elevated needs to advance racial and social equity, we wanted to share an excellent brief just released by a collaborative we are part of, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII). The brief, Embedding Equity into Emergency Operations, includes specific recommendations for structures and operations and provides case examples from numerous jurisdictions that have intentionally included equity into their response. The learnings from these jurisdictions informed the recommendations we developed.  
  6. Equity in COVID-19: As we follow the state’s prioritization, we will communicate and reach out to all levels of each priority group to ensure understanding of vaccine safety in culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate ways.