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Orange County Health Department creates community health and racial equity webpage

DTH Photo Illustration. The Orange County Health Department recently launched a health equity page designed to be user-friendly and informative.

The Orange County Health Department has created a Health Equity website dedicated to dismantling structural racism and promoting health care equity within the county. 

Launched in February, the webpage — which comes after nearly four years of collaboration and input from the community — features content that is updated with information and resources pertaining to equity work. 

The Orange County Health Department's Racial Equity Commission came up with the idea in 2017 and created three subcommittees that are directly involved in selecting content and maintaining the page. 

Beverly Scurry, a member of the subcommittee, said health inequities brought to attention by COVID-19 and racial justice movements following the death of George Floyd made the team feel like it was the right time to finally launch the webpage. 

“I think COVID-19 really brought to the forefront the inequities in our health care system," Kristin Prelipp, OCHD public information officer, said. "If anything, it made it feel more urgent than it already felt.”

To keep up with what’s happening in the community and to receive feedback, the subcommittee is connected via community organizations' Listservs and social media. 

“We’re just really tuned into what’s happening in racial equity work and who’s doing that work in our community, our state and across the nation," Scurry said. "We are just trying to pass that information onto our community members.”  

Resources on the webpage include information from the National Institutes of Health and the American Public Health Association and community-based resources like podcasts and articles to educate people on health care inequities and their histories. 

The website also uses information from local organizations like the Healthy Carolinians of Orange County and the Health Equity Council. 

Lonnie Merrick, co-chairperson of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Health & Wellness Committee and member of the Orange County Health Department's Racial Equity Commission, said in an email the website can help expand people's knowledge and insight into racial issues by giving them new perspectives or allowing them to disregard incorrect assumptions. 

“Health equity means that race would not negatively impact the health care that they desire or receive," Merrick said. 

Prelipp said the equity journey is a continuous process. 

"It’s not something where you can just read a book or attend a class and you’re done, it’s a lifelong journey," she said. "The equity webpage and all the work we’re doing we see as a continual process that is looked through a racial equity lens." 

@DTHCityState |

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