Governor Laura Kelly today announced that her Commission on Racial Equity and Justice has released its second report, which makes recommendations on ways that Kansas can improve racial equity around the Social Determinants of Health, focusing on economic systems, education access, and healthcare.
“This Commission has again developed a thoughtful and well-researched report, full of recommendations that the state and local governments can take up and implement both short-term and long-term,” Governor Kelly said. “My administration remains committed to advancing equity and justice for all Kansans. By working together to pursue these policies, we can improve the health of all Kansas communities.”
In June of 2020, Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order No. 20-48, establishing the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. The Commission was tasked with studying issues of racial equity and justice in Kansas. It began its work focusing on law enforcement and policing, releasing a report in December 2020 with over 60 recommendations for improving racial equity and justice at different levels of government.
The governor appointed a diverse group of professionals from law enforcement, academia, public education, public health, local government, the justice system, and more to spearhead the Commission’s work. Since their first report, the Commission has met with dozens of stakeholders and relevant professionals across the state and collected input for recommendations on improving equity in economic systems, education, and healthcare in Kansas.
The Commission, led by co-chairs Dr. Tiffany Anderson and Dr. Shannon Portillo, held six months of bi-weekly meetings with presentations from guest speakers.
“We are grateful to Kansas and national experts and community members who shared their research and passion with the Commission,” said the co-chairs. “This report represents the beginning of our work on the Social Determinants of Health, and the Commission is eager to continue engaging Kansans and exploring issues of racial equity and justice in the state.”
Last week, the Commission submitted to the Governor a report with 51 recommendations on ways that state agencies, the legislature, and local governments can take action to improve racial equity around healthcare, economics, and education in the state of Kansas.
The recommendations address topics including teacher diversity, tax policy, early childhood education, and maternal and child health.
The Commission will continue to meet throughout 2021 to analyze racial equity and justice in the context of various systems in Kansas, such as mental health, education, housing, and lending practices. Per Executive Order No. 20-48, the Commission is tasked with submitting to the governor a final report at the end of the year.