3 County of Monterey Health Department strives to make our county a healthier place to live, work, play, learn, and pray and as such has adopted a Health in All Policies approach, focused on advancing health and racial equity driven by community voice. Research shows that life expectancy is affected by where one lives and that communities of color experience disparate impacts in health, housing, economics, and mental wellbeing. Through engagement practices and culturally and linguistically relevant programs, policies can be developed to better serve communities that have historically been disinvested. No look back is complete without mentioning the recent pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was not easy for any of us and required all of us to make sacrifices for the health of our communities. Even as of this writing, it remains a major cause of death in the United States. The pandemic also shined a bright light on how much inequity exists in our communities and how vulnerable some of our residents are. The pandemic response spearheaded by the Department’s Public Health bureau was also a collaboration of many other agencies, organizations, businesses, and the residents of Monterey County. Looking towards the future, our mission will not change. The current topics and issues may change, our population will change, and we will learn more about how to make our communities healthier. I invite you to become involved in making Monterey County healthier. Learn more about opportunities to engage in local health policy considerations and programs. I encourage young people and individuals looking to make a career change, to consider public health. Together we can make Monterey County a healthier and happier place to live, work, play, study, and pray. Elsa Jimenez, Director of Health Services – County of Monterey