Martinsville/Henry County to Advance Policies Supporting Racial Healing and Public Health

April 14, 2023

Media Contact: Nancy Bell ( / 540-488-5004

Martinsville/Henry County to Advance Policies Supporting Racial Healing and Public Health
Efforts Aim to Move from Declaration to Action on Racism as a Public Health Crisis

MARTINSVILLE, VA—Martinsville is one of fifteen cities and counties across the United States that has been selected to participate in focused efforts to advance local-level policies supporting racial healing and public health.

Through the Healing Through Policy: Pathways to Racial Justice initiative, the community will participate in a highly acclaimed Community of Practice program and will receive counsel from experts and peer support from other localities that share these aims. The goal is to collectively advance the widespread adoption and implementation of policies that have shown positive impact on health and equity.

Healing Through Policy supports cities, counties, and states in moving from commitment to action for health, racial equity, and justice, and is an initiative of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the de Beaumont Foundation, and the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE), in collaboration with Results for America (RFA).

“American society is increasingly recognizing the impact of racism on the health of individuals and communities,” said NCHE Executive Director Gail C. Christopher, DN. “More than 250 states, cities, and counties have issued declarations proclaiming racism a public health crisis. This is a step in the right direction. But now, public officials, the private sector, and communities must work together to eliminate racism and improve health outcomes, especially for people of color who have suffered through decades of health inequities.”

Martinsville/Henry County formed an equity collaborative for this purpose more than a year ago. Bonnie Favero, Prevention Program Manager working with the Equity Collaborative, said. “The vision of its members is very much in keeping with the goals of the Healing Through Policy program.”

“Participation in this prestigious program will enable our community to do this in ways we haven’t even thought of,” Favero said. “This is a big deal for our community!”

“Working within the Martinsville/Henry County Equity Collaborative, we recently concluded a community needs assessment. Data from the assessment will be used in the identify inequities as we strategize how to solve them,” added Nancy Bell, Population Health Manager for the West Piedmont Health District.

Healing Through Policy identifies a suite of local-level policies and practices that have been successfully implemented in at least one jurisdiction, show promise in improving health and racial equity, and meaningfully engage those who are impacted. Based on the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation frameworkTM, the policies and practices span five domains: narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law, and economy.

“The ability to shape policy is a powerful tool to reduce health inequities,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “Acknowledging that these injustices exist is the first step. We now need to move from recognition to action by implementing policies that will make a difference in the lives of our community members for generations.”

“Healing Through Policy is a testament to the power of community and action at the local level in creating equitable and just futures for all people,” said de Beaumont Foundation President and CEO Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH. “We are honored to be supporting these communities as they learn from one other and work together to address centuries of racist policy, heal from these injustices, and thrive.”

“Policies such as right to counsel for tenants facing eviction help ensure more residents have stable, affordable homes, which is critical for their health and well-being,” said RFA Executive Vice President and Chief Impact Officer Lisa Morrison Butler. “We look forward to working with local leaders to show how the use of data and evidence can help them move from commitment to action in addressing systemic health and racial inequities and creating thriving communities of opportunity for all.”

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About the de Beaumont Foundation

The de Beaumont Foundation creates and invests in bold solutions that improve the health of communities across the country. Its mission is to advance policy, build partnerships, and strengthen public health to create communities where everyone can achieve their best possible health. For more information, visit Nalini Padmanabhan,, can answer additional questions about the program.