Washington Apple

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Adrian Dominguez
WSPHA Board President and Chief Data Officer at Seattle Indian Health Board

Washington State Public Health Association Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis and Sets Action Plan for Washington State

On February 25, 2022, the Washington State Public Health Association’s (WSPHA) Board of Directors and Membership ratified the Resolution, “That Racism is a Public Health Crisis in Washington State.”

The role of public health is to prevent illness, injury, and premature death. Over the past century, public health has improved healthy years of life through safe food and water, curbing tobacco use and exposure, access to vaccines, and much more. Public health must be adaptable and nimble if it is to be successful in its mission. As public health acquires data, assesses societal health, and listens to their communities, it has become clear that racism and health inequities are a clear public health crisis.

“If we are to have a healthy Washington for all, we must confront racism as a public health crisis,” said Adrian Dominguez, WSPHA Board President. “Public health is a field of science and data, and the numbers in Washington are clear that black, indigenous, and people of color have worse health outcomes.”

“While progress has occurred in the last fifty years towards a more equitable society, the historic and institutional structures of racism remain. They have caused generational trauma and continue to impact Indigenous people and communities of color,” added JanMarie Ward Olmstead, WSPHA Board President-Elect and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee Chair. 

The Resolution includes an action plan that contains strategies and actions that WSPHA will undertake including advocacy, education, allyship, and accountability.

WSPHA spent more than a year developing the Resolution and action plan which included discussions of the draft at its 2021 annual conference in October and two membership forums involving WSPHA members to ask questions and provide input.

Membership in WSPHA places you in the company of a community of individuals and organizations dedicated to making health and safety a reality for all people in our state. WSPHA offers both individual and organizational memberships. BECOME A MEMBER


One of the most long-standing affiliates of the American Public Health Association (APHA), we have been working to protect and promote the public’s health in Washington State since 1935.

The Washington State Public Health Association is an affiliated association of the American Public Health Association (APHA). We have collaborated with APHA to grow stronger as organizations, to share expertise, influence, and resources, and to advocate for common priorities at the local, state and federal levels.

APHA is the national voice of public health and champions the health of all people and all communities. It is the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.