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There are significant disparities in health status and access to health care in King County, Washington. Poverty, discrimination, and limited English proficiency (LEP) affect access to health care and insurance coverage. Uninsured individuals disproportionately turn to emergency medical services (EMS) for health care services and as such, EMS providers are at the front lines in providing care to those most in need.

In 2014, 21.2% of King County’s residents were foreign-born and of these individuals, 26.4% of King County residents ages 5 and older spoke a language other than English at home.

Research shows that LEP communities in King County experience unique challenges in accessing 9-1-1 related to communication barriers and cultural differences.

About VPSI

The Vulnerable Population Strategic Initiative (VPSI) is a team of highly dedicated staff that works in partnership with the University of Washington School of Public Health, emergency response organizations and community leaders.

Their goal is to conduct programmatic, scientific and case-based evaluations to assure that EMS provides the best possible care to all King County residents regardless of race, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, culture, gender or language spoken.