The health equity principle of Optimum Health For All is the pillar the new City of St. Louis Department of Health Clergy Advisory Board will begin building its internal infrastructure on. The newly established advisory board was announced on May 11th. It has already begun internal discussions on priorities, mission, goals, and identifying the unique capabilities faith communities can contribute to efforts to address health inequities and achieve healthier outcomes for the St. Louis region. The members of the board are excited about being invited to serve the City of St. Louis and their congregations and communities in this new way.
St. Louis is a very diverse city, so the advisory board is also examining gaps that might need to be addressed in its makeup. “Because not all faith leaders share the same mutual interest in specific health issues it’s important that the board have a geographically, racially, gender, and ethnically diverse makeup,” says Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of health for the City of St. Louis.
Working collaborations with nontraditional partners is not new for public health agencies. Health departments working with faith-based organizations is a proven best practice in reaching at risk, minority, and other vulnerable populations. Echols said, “In order to find and implement long term solutions to the numerous social determinates of health in St. Louis, religious leaders must be included in the dialogue and engaged in the work of creating communities that support optimal health for all.”
Religious leaders interested in serving on the City of St. Louis Clergy Advisory Board can email their statement of interest to the Department of Health at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of Health
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