An Update On Our Local Work

While the Montana legislature may not be convening in 2024, it doesn’t mean our advocacy work has stopped.


Beginning in the spring of 2023, American Heart Association began having conversations with the City of Bozeman about adopting and implementing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) plan.

The American Heart Association acknowledges that structural racism has been and remains a fundamental cause of persistent health disparities in the United States. For this reason, we support the creation, implementation, and maintenance of health equity action plans, like the Belonging in Bozeman Equity and Inclusion Plan.

Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential, and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances. Health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment. Many communities across the U.S. have declared racism as a public health crisis and have given verbal commitments to reduce health inequities, but the steps to reduce inequities are not quite as simple as a resolution or declaration. A community-driven health equity action plan, like the Belonging in Bozeman Equity and Inclusion Plan, can engage the community members in prioritizing and driving the positive changes they need to live a healthier life. For these reasons, we worked with the Bozeman City Commission to adopt the plan.

Heart was in contact with the City of Bozeman's Community Engagement Coordinator and an Associate Planner for the City of Bozeman’s Community Development Department who both served as co-leads on the development of the Belonging in Bozeman Plan. Throughout the summer and fall, Heart provided input on the draft goals for the Belonging in Bozeman Plan including attending steering committee meetings to meet and brainstorm with other community partners. In December after the City of Bozeman's Economic Vitality Board recommended adoption of the plan it moved to the City Commissioners for approval. Heart wrote letters of support to both the board and the city commissioners expressing support for the plan. On December 19,2023, the Belonging in Bozeman Equity & Inclusion Plan passed unanimously.

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