Serving on the Washington State Environmental Health Disparities Map Technical Workgroup

Our group is continuing to find ways to contribute to environmental justice initiatives in the state. Last week, I started serving on the Technical Workgroup for the WA EHD Map.

The WA Environmental Health Disparities Map was led by Front & Centered, developed through listening sessions with community groups, and implemented by various community, governmental and academic groups. Since we’ve published the WA EHD Map, the report, and papers (1, 2), there’s been a push towards implementing map data into environmental justice policy in the state, including the passive of the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act.

Under the HEAL Act, Dr. Esther Min and I continue to advise the Department of Health on updates to the EHD Map. These updates are important to keeping abreast of the changes in environmental indicators across the state, and potentially incorporating new data sources and methods that reflect the original goals and needs that we heard from EJ communities in the initial listening sessions, and in subsequent conversations.

Cumulative Impacts Analyses tools such as the WA EHD map have received a lot of recent attention due to the release of the White House’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC)’s National Screening Tool. I’ll be posting soon on what we’ve learned from applying this tool in Washington State.