Council Redesign

Council Redesign Process

Several years ago, the Council began discussing the need to redesign our statute, the law that directs our work. We want to incorporate our many years of work and learning alongside partners and create opportunity for greater collective impact.


The Council heard from our advisory committees and members of the public, particularly communities most impacted by inequities, that Washington needs to address structural and institutional inequities in our state system as a key strategy to eliminating health inequities.

Resources are often designed to make us feel better without changing the systems that are making us sick. Community partner


The compass should always be community. Partners shared that the Council needs to develop goals and do work that meets community expectations, and communities must be engaged in every step of the process.

We already know what the problems are and have solutions - we just need people to listen to us. Community partner

Since November 2022, the Council has been holding a series of public redesign workshops. We have also connected with key governmental and community partners to learn how the Council can lead or support unified goals for health and wellbeing. Partners offered insight on how the Council could better engage communities as well as align with partners’ visions and priorities to address unjust health disparities (inequities) and advance health justice and equity.

Visual summary of May 10, 2023 redesign workshop. Alt text: Graphic showing discussion highlights from the May 10 redesign workshop. Graphic includes foundational truths, core redesign concepts, and the balances participants want to see in proposed statute.

These foundational truths provide shared purpose and meaning for this redesign:

  • Racism is a public health crisis.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened conditions for communities.
  • Community holds inherent power.
  • There are many dimensions to health and wellbeing.
  • We are interconnected.
Even with diversity in the workforce, racism prevents equity.
Immigrants and LGBTQ communities don't have access to as many services.

Council’s Redesign Proposal

The Council’s proposal has two main components:

  1. Statutory: Clarify and update the Council’s focus, processes, and responsibilities by revising our authority in state law (RCW 43.20.270 – 43.20.280).
  2. Budgetary: Dedicate adequate and sustainable funding through the state budget for Council operations.

In October 2023, the Council submitted our redesign proposal to the Governor’s Office for consideration and it is currently under review. Revising the Council’s statute and operating budget would also ultimately require action by state lawmakers during legislative session.

Access the full proposal and more information here:

“Our vision for change, our vision for Washington, our vision for health equity should be rooted in joy because ultimately, that’s a critical indicator of a good quality of life—that we can experience joy in meaningful ways.”
- Victor Rodriguez, Council Vice 
Chair, Community Member seat

How much more research do we need? We know what the inequities and root causes are. Ensure there is action and address the root causes instead of recycling what we already know.

Council Background: 17 Years of Work and Learning

The Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities (Council) was created by the state legislature in 2006. Currently, our primary role is to identify priorities and create recommendations for the Governor and state lawmakers to eliminate health disparities by race/ethnicity and gender in Washington. Our authorizing statute (RCW 43.20.270-43.20.280), the law that governs our work, directs the Council to address certain health topics on an incremental basis along with addressing the social determinants of health.

[We're] working in solidarity so everyone has meaningful opportunity to achieve their full potential.
I have hope for more change. We saw our Latino communities left behind during the pandemic.

Since 2006, the Council has worked in partnership with state agencies and public, private, and community organizations to identify priorities, convene advisory committees, and create policy recommendations.

The Council released the first State Action Plan in 2010 and has published periodic updates since. In addition to the list of health conditions and indicators mentioned in our statute, we have created recommendations on:

  • access to healthy food
  • health insurance coverage
  • healthcare services capacity in rural areas
  • healthcare workforce diversity
  • behavioral health
  • reproductive health access
  • environmental exposures and hazards
  • educational opportunity gaps
  • poverty reduction
  • disaggregated data
  • culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • equity in state government
  • community engagement


To learn more about the Council’s work and this redesign project, contact us at or 360-236-4110.