Letter to the Editor: Misinformation is Unacceptable

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An Open Letter To The Spokane Regional Health Board Members:

We, the Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience of Eastern Washington and North Idaho have the utmost respect for the Spokane Regional Health District and the important work of caring for the health of our entire county. During this difficult time, we and the people we serve rely on our public health experts to keep our communities safe.

On May 1, as protesters rallied at the Spokane County Courthouse demanding that Gov. Jay Inslee lift his stay-at-home orders, Dr. Jason Kinley, N.D. used his position as a SRHB member to promote misinformation and potentially harmful medical advice. This is unacceptable. 

Our communities are filled with people who are confused. It is critical that when people who represent the Board of Health share information it must be accurate and scientifically sound. Dr. Jason Kinley’s use of the Board of Health’s authority to spread falsified information is irresponsible and inexcusable.

We ask two actions from the Board of Health:

1. Develop criteria for Board of Health members that requires all on the Board, including at-large appointees, to follow peer reviewed studies, accurate information, and scientifically sound facts.

2. When anyone on the board uses their position to promote a position not held by the Board, they must be removed immediately.

We fully support the replacement of Dr. Jason Kinley with a new board member who can meet these criteria.

Please, create standards for membership as well as clear expectations of all board members. We support making public all vacancies on the board, the criteria for board membership, and the code of ethics for all board members so that the best candidates can be found.


Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience of Eastern Washington and North Idaho

The Rev. Genavieve Heywood, United Church of Christ

Pam Silverstein MD, Jewish Community

The Rev. Kaye Hult, United Church of Christ

Sr. Pat Millen, OSF

Pat McCormick, M.Div., STD.

Pastor Walter Kendricks, Baptist Church

Lani DeLong, community organizer

Naghmana Sherazi, Chair, Muslims for Community, Action and Support

The Rev. Heather Tadlock, Presbyterian Church USA

The Rev. Jeannette Solimine, United Church of Christ

The Rev. Rick Matters,  Episcopal Church

Barbara Miller, Director of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center

Wm. Lamont Worden, M.D.

Joan Berkowitz, Jewish Community

Diana Koorkanian-Sauders, Jewish Community

The Rev. Debra Conklin, United Methodist

Rev. Paul Benz & Elise DeGooyer, Co-Directors, Faith Action Network

You can submit a letter to the editor by emailing tracysimmons@spokanefavs.com.

About Gen Heywood

Rev. Gen Heywood has been active in parish ministry for more than 30 years. From small towns to big cities, she always lets the needs of the community and the congregation be her guide. Gen credits the supportive leadership of Veradale United Church of Christ for including her work to overcome racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation as part of her ministry. “Veradale UCC is a small church with a powerful faith. They are the reason I can be a witness for a world where we do justice, live with compassion, and walk humbly with the Divine.”

Gen grow up in rural Maine. She received a BA in Music Therapy and German from Emmanuel College in Boston, MA and her M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA. She is a life long learner who lives in Spokane Valley, WA with her three dogs as well as, sometimes, with her amazing young adult children.

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