Health Equity

The COVID-19 pandemic hit some San Diegans harder than others, underscoring the need for the County’s focus on health equity. 

The County constantly reviewed racial/ethnic and equity data of COVID-19 trends and shifted resources as needed to counter disproportionate impacts. 

An information campaign reached out to the Latino community describing how to protect yourself and where to get help for COVID-19-related issues. The outreach included TV, radio, online ads and signage in Spanish. Widespread equity-driven testing included locations such as the Mexican Consulate in Little Italy and San Ysidro/Mexico pedestrian port of entry.

“Having a vaccine site in such close proximity to the community is something that we’re so excited about. We’re really happy to be able to share this news with our community.” 

Najla I., Somali Family Service of San Diego

Trusted community health workers called promotoras – speaking Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog and other languages – assisted with contact tracing and helped spread the word about COVID safety.

The County underwrote Together Against COVID, a partnership of Black leaders and doctors working against the virus, and conducted outreach in the Black community. 

Once vaccines arrived, the County launched Project SAVE (Scheduling Assistance for Vaccine Equity), a system designed to reduce barriers to the traditional online appointment system. Community health workers connected eligible people in communities most impacted by COVID-19 with specially set-aside vaccination appointments. Project SAVE partners helped promote an equitable access to the vaccine.

First responders with Operation Collaboration vaccinated farmworkers in fields and residents in rural communities like Campo, Jacumba and Borrego Springs. Other equity initiatives helped those in long-term care facilities, people experiencing homelessness and the homebound. 

Health equity extends to other vulnerable populations, such as those who need safety net services like CalFresh and Medi-Cal. The County is funding 166 additional positions next year to meet increased demand, bolstering staffing for Self-Sufficiency Services, Adult Protective Services, In-Home Supportive Services and Child Welfare Services.