Advancing Racial and Health Equity and Shared Community Power

Ramsey County will strengthen our countywide approach to leverage programs, processes and policies and prioritize innovations in governance and operations to advance racial and health equity, including addressing historical and long-standing race-based disproportional outcomes. Ramsey County will also deconstruct systemic and organizational barriers to be more fair, inclusive and transparent in how we share power with residents and communities in order to build a more equitable, responsive and effective organization.

Why this is a priority

Ramsey County’s vision for a vibrant community where all are valued and thrive is dependent on being a community where all residents can experience fair outcomes including the highest level of health and wellbeing and opportunities for advancement and growth. Many of the communities and residents impacted by county programs and services have not historically had a voice in planning and implementation. Ramsey County must assess and modernize long-standing structures and legacy systems to better meet the emerging needs of all residents. Ramsey County must develop, identify and use a broad range of strategies grounded in sharing power to ensure all residents and communities, especially racial and ethnic groups who are experiencing inequities, have a voice in realizing beneficial outcomes across the county.

Building on previous work and lessons learned

In 2018, this priority has evolved to place racial equity alongside health equity at the center of decision-making. In 2020, Racial and Health Equity was combined with the Community Engagement strategic priority and changed to shared community power. By “power”, we mean by sharing power with community to make decisions that are crucial for a specific outcome. This approach lifts up race and health equity and shared power as countywide principles and drives a framework for how the county operates.

Ensure racial equity and shared power with community is applied

Ramsey County has initiated community-wide conversations on equity to increase awareness and accountability. A broad range of resources and tools, including participatory methods and Results Based Accountability in organizational planning have be applied to structurally advance equity and measure outcomes. Additional learning and development trainings on the Role of Government for Advancing Racial Equity, has also been offered for formal leaders and new employees. Specific relationships with racially and ethnically diverse communities are vital to helping ensure that equity remains a central focus. Honoring community knowledge and wisdom early on and before budgetary investments, program decisions or new projects are launched helps build trust and is critical to helping actively involve our most impacted communities in creating a better future, where all are valued and thrive.