To help change the inequality in access to care, Jensen said the department is looking to form a coalition with public agencies, private citizens, nonprofits and other community voices and address each of the three goals head-on.
The department’s stated goals are: ensuring “all individuals in Merced County have access to quality health care,” “optimizing social and physical environments to support healthy lifestyles” and increasing wellness in Merced County “by addressing the conditions that lead to drug and alcohol abuse.” The department has given itself until 2021 to achieve each of these goals.
While the scope of work may be daunting, department officials say they hope to achieve true healthy equity by incorporating a wide-spectrum of voices and community representatives in the planned coalition.
Messages promoting better access to health care, educational opportunities and minority representation among local government bodies also made an appearance but the key issue for many leaders was an end to the criminalization and incarceration of minority communities.
The camp was a mind opening experience. I feel like the camp changed my point of view. As a young man of color, I may have issues and difficulties that I face that others do not. This does not mean that I am alone. I now think of others as well, instead of just myself. I left the camp with new hope that we can make a change in our communities.