SBOH - Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities - Office of Equity Task Force

The Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) was established by the state constitution in 1889 to provide leadership and advance public health practices that protect and improve the public’s health. It is a separate entity from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) although the Secretary of Health sits on the Board and the SBOH leverages DOH facilities.

The Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities was created by the Washington State Legislature in 2006 via SB 6197 following the recommendation by the Joint Select Committee on Health Disparities. The Council is responsible for identifying priorities and creating recommendations for the Governor and Legislature to eliminate health disparities by race / ethnicity and gender in Washington. The Council has 17 members including 14 individuals from state agencies, boards, and commissions, and three members selected by the Governor. The Council's statutory authority is described in RCW 43.20.275 wherein the State Board of Health is assigned funding and responsibility for convening the Council.

The Office of Equity Task Force was established by a proviso in the 2019-2021 biennial operating budget (HB 1109 section 221, subsection 7) directing the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities to convene and staff a task force is to develop a proposal for the creation of a state office of equity. The office of equity is intended to promote access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce disparities, including racial and ethnic disparities, and improve outcomes statewide across all sectors of government. The proviso outlines the task force’s membership and reporting requirements to the Legislature.