Listen to Anne Price and Dr. Lori Pfingst discuss how the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services is addressing poverty through an equity lens, using the power of data, storytelling and building authentic community relationships.


Dr. Lori Pfingst is a skilled writer, speaker, and storyteller who uses the power of data paired with community voice to foster systems-level change for children and families throughout the state of Washington. She currently serves as the Chief of Programs and Policy for the Economic Services Administration in the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Anne Price, President of Insight, welcomed Lori on the podcast to discuss her work in addressing poverty through the social safety net. Over the course of her career, Lori has focused on the issues of poverty reduction, income inequality, and tax policy through a racial and gender lens. Lori notes that there is growing momentum and commitment to equity in tackling poverty. She finds that, “once you see how structural inequities undermine people of color, women and low income families, you can’t unsee it. When we reach critical mass of people that have that understanding, structural change is possible.”

More recently, she has conducted several listening sessions around the state to build authentic relationships with underserved groups. She has heard first-hand the challenges people face and how the current economic system is rooted in racial and gendered narratives that ultimately hold back families from getting the resources they deserve. She noted that for Native communities for example, historical trauma, healing, and resilience were identified as major tenets of repairing the tremendous harms inflicted on Native families.

“These sessions really show the hunger of the people of Washington who want to share their stories and want to be heard to improve not just their lives, but all of the lives of the people we serve,” said Lori.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on iTunes.


To learn about the poverty reduction work Lori describes in the podcast, please click here.