Washington's Health Equity Zones
Zone Updates and Information
Zone for Native Communities
Native community representatives on the Community Advisory Council formed a Zone for Native Communities Subcommittee to develop submission guidelines, which includes a zone definition, eligibility criteria, and selection process. The subcommittee invited input on the selection process from Native leaders in Washington and led recruitment of a review panel reflective of Tribal and Urban Native communities from across the state.
On February 28, 2024, the Health Equity Zones Initiative will open submissions for the Zone for Native Communities. Tribal and Urban Indian communities from across Washington are encouraged to apply. One community will be selected by the Tribal Review Panel in this pilot phase of the Initiative. The selected community will receive flexible funding of $200,000 per year for two years that can be used towards developing organizational infrastructure to support community decision-making, identifying health priorities, and implementing culturally-relevant strategies.
The selection process for the zone dedicated to Native communities is currently being developed by Tribal Community Representatives from the Community Advisory Council and a Review Panel of Native individuals who will assist in selection once the submission form opens.
The submission form and selection process are anticipated to launch in February of 2024.
Rural Zone - Rural Whatcom County
Collaborators, including several nominators from Whatcom County, came together to create an outreach plan for the Zone that builds on previous community engagement in Rural Whatcom County. Coming in 2024, zone collaborators will host listening sessions and community gatherings to build community awareness and gather input before moving forward with establishing a guiding body for the zone. More information, including contact information for the Whatcom HEZ will be posted on WA Portal in February 2024.
The Rural Communities of Whatcom County have long served as an agricultural center and major port of entry into Washington. With more than 100,000 acres of rich farmland, an active commercial fishing industry, and both large student and older adult populations, the nomination for the Rural Communities of Whatcom County noted that, geographically, it is predominantly rural but also has a mid-sized city in Bellingham. This combination presents a case study for advancing health equity and bridge-building between rural communities and more densely populated areas of a region.
Urban Zone - South King County
The nominator for this zone, the SeaTac-Tukwila Community Coalition, has begun meeting to lay the groundwork for this zone, which they are calling the South King County Zone. The Zone conveners, a coalition of four community-based and community-serving organizations – the Congolese Integration Network, Global to Local, Partner in Employment and the Somali Health Board - are working to develop an outreach plan and communication tools for reaching the greater community. More information, including contact information for the South King County Zone, will be posted on WA Portal in February 2024. A video that shows the work of the coalition prior to the HEZ Initiative can be viewed here: SeaTac-Tukwila Community Coalition » Global to Local
The combined communities of Burien, SeaTac, and Tukwila comprise one of the most diverse regions of the state, it is home to immigrant and refugee populations representing numerous ethnic and racial groups, with more than a dozen languages commonly spoken. The nomination for Burien, SeaTac, and Tukwila highlighted the challenges new residents face when relocating to Washington.