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Office of Health Equity

About the Office of Health Equity


Everyone in California has equal opportunities for optimal health, mental health and well-being.


Promote equitable social, economic, and environmental conditions to achieve optimal health, mental health, and well-being for all.

Central Challenge

 Mobilize understanding and sustained commitment to eliminate health inequity and improve the health, mental health, and well-being for all.    ​​​

The Office of Health Equity (OHE) was established, as authorized by Section 131019.5 of the California Health and Safety Code, to provide a key leadership role to reduce health and mental health disparities to vulnerable communities.

OHE is comprised of several different operational units: the Advancing Community Equity Branch, which includes the Equity Planning and Capacity Building Section and the Health in All Policies and Racial Health Equity Section; the Business Operations Unit; Climate Change and Health Equity Section; Community Development and Engagement Section; Gender Health Equity Unit; and the Health Equity Research and Statistics Section. OHE's Deputy Director, who is appointed by the Governor or the State Public Health Officer, is subject to confirmation by the Senate. The Deputy Director of the OHE reports to the Director at CDPH and works closely with the Director of Health Care Services.

A priority of this office is the building of cross-sectoral partnerships. The work of OHE is directed through their advisory committee and stakeholder meetings. The office consults with community-based organizations and local governmental agencies to ensure that community perspectives and input are included in policies and any strategic plans, recommendations, and implementation activities.

Aligning state resources, decision making, and programs, OHE aims to accomplish all of the following:

  • Achieve the highest level of health and mental health for all people, with special attention focused on those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage and historical injustice, including, but not limited to, vulnerable communities and culturally, linguistically, and geographically isolated communities. 

  •  Work collaboratively with the Health in All Policies Task Force to promote work to prevent injury and illness through improved social and environmental factors that promote health and mental health.

  • Advise and assist other state departments in their mission to increase access to, and the quality of, culturally and linguistically competent health and mental health care and services.

  • Improve the health status of all populations and places, with a priority on eliminating health and mental health disparities and inequities.

Duties of OHE include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Establish a comprehensive, cross-sectoral strategic plan to eliminate health and mental health disparities (updated every two years). 

  •  By October 1, 2013, establish an advisory committee. 

  •  Establish an interagency agreement between the State Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services to outline the process by which the departments will jointly work to advance the mission of the OHE. 

  •  Conduct demographic analyses on health and mental health disparities and equities (updated periodically, but not less than every two years). 

  •  Build upon and inform the work of the Health in All Policies Task Force.

  • Assist and consult with state and local governments, health and mental health providers, community-based organizations and advocates, and various stakeholder communities

OHE Units

To carry out our work, the Office of Health Equity is organized into different operational units and sections whose focus is to strengthen the Department of Public Health's ability to advise and assist other state departments, provide data that facilitates action, and engage partners who share our commitment in eliminating inequities in health and mental health across the state. Learn more about these programs below. ​

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