Advancing Equity at PCHS

This guest blog was written by Stefanie Love, Human Services Coordinator for Pierce County Human Services.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging (DEIAB). These aren’t just abstract principles of workplace culture, but rather, these are values that we must prioritize in all our work across the Human Services Department. I love to cook so I’ll use this analogy: DEIAB must be baked into to everything we create.

My job is to lead our department’s efforts in accessibility and equity. I’m often in the community providing education and outreach so residents know who we are and what we do. I engage with community agencies and organizations to support current relationships and create new connections. A vital part of my work is to support internal collaboration and learning, so I lead Advancing Equity, an initiative focusing on specific efforts to eliminate structural and institutional racism in our department and community. I’m also helping to coordinate our outreach efforts to improve geographical equity and I’m working to support our department’s strategic plan goals related to demographic data collection and utilization. We are actively working to develop a language access plan and procedures, in hopes that all our staff will be confident in helping community members access our services in their preferred language.

Improving geographic equity around our outreach efforts is a vital component of our department’s Strategic Plan. We want to meet people where they are and make it easier to access services where they live. Connecting not just with potential clients, but also with potential providers, is something that we’ve focused outreach efforts on. To develop strong external partnerships that support the needs of the community, we need to be accessible as a partner regardless of providers size or experience with public funding.

So how are we making Human Services more accessible? Developed in partnership with the Equity Action Collaborative (hosted by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department), the Human Services Language Library (see picture above) is our department’s first step toward language access. The Language Library hosts documents and information about our programs and services in the top 6 languages spoken in Pierce County – English, Spanish, Samoan, Russian, Vietnamese and Korean. We also offer online resources to support groups or agencies who may struggle with capacity to seek funding through grants, whether from us or other sources. The Grant Resources webpage offers information on grant funding, tips for submitting applications, grant searching tools and other resources.

I’m excited about our opportunity to serve more of our language-diverse neighbors and our plans to continue language library expansion as we learn more about our county’s needs. We will share more with you as we continue to evolve!

Thanks for reading.

-Stefanie Love