Every human deserves the basic right to health. Racism is a public health crisis.
As an organization created to improve the well-being of all residents across Central Oregon,
the Central Oregon Health Council (COHC) has a responsibility to promote and protect
that right to health. We know that health equity will never be achieved unless we address
the racism and inequality resulting from biased policies, practices, and ideologies
that helped shape Oregon and continue today.
People of color and tribal nations experience pervasive and deep health disparities because
of historical and ongoing colonialism and the invalidation of cultural and traditional
health practices. By focusing on race, we create a framework to address the impacts of
further inequalities experienced by people who are also marginalized by ability, sexual
orientation, gender, and immigration status and people who live at the intersection of these
and other identities. These persisting health inequities threaten the principles and priorities
that the COHC was formed to address.
The Central Oregon Health Council is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in our
work culture, grant making, and community partnerships. This is essential to achieving our
purpose to build an equitable and integrated health ecosystem that improves the well-being of
all Central Oregonians. As a community-led organization, we pledge to collaborate with our
partners to address the racial inequities within our communities and organizations.
The COHC commits to:
● engaging and learning with our diverse Central Oregon communities, especially
populations who have been excluded, underrepresented, and underserved
● listening to and elevating the voices of communities who are most impacted by our work
● co-creating with communities throughout our region to achieve more inclusive
decision-making to meet their diverse needs
● applying a health equity analysis to build and revise our programs, policies, practices,
and grants to be more culturally responsive
● striving to provide regional leadership and advocacy for health equity through shared
governance and accountability with our Coordinated Care Organization, the Regional
Health Assessment, and the Regional Health Improvement Plan
● publicizing and referencing this commitment in all appropriate communications
● evaluating how we follow through on this Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and
Justice and publicly sharing both our successes and failures
We recognize we have a lot to learn and much work to do. We ask our partners, members, and
staff to support us, join hands with us, and hold us accountable to this commitment.
Call to Action
The COHC calls on all its members, partners, and leaders to develop, adopt, and implement
similar commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Together, we must identify
meaningful solutions to dismantle structural racism and other forms of oppression. We must
ensure every person has the freedom to be healthy, to be safe, and to thrive.