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Office of Health Equity

About the Office of Health Equity


Equal opportunities for optimal health and well-being. 


To promote equitable conditions to achieve the well-being of California's diverse people and communities. 

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 authorized in 2012 by Section 131019.5 of the California Health and Safety Code within the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). 

As outlined in the California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity (Portrait of Promise) (PDF), OHE represents an opportunity to lessen inequities and pursue a path that leads to health, wellness, and well-being for every member of the great and diverse family of California residents. The plan highlights the underlying conditions that contribute to health and well-being, accompanied by a comprehensive, cross-sectoral strategic plan to eliminate health and mental health disparities. OHE's duties include the development of a report with demographic analyses on health and mental health disparities and inequities (view the 2020 Demographic Report (PDF)). 

To achieve this, OHE works to provide a key leadership role in reducing health and mental health disparities in vulnerable communities. OHE's programs have a shared vision of building cross-sectional partnerships with community-based organizations and local governmental agencies. Community perspectives and input are valued by OHE when creating and implementing policies, strategic plans, 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 marginalized communities and culturally, linguistically, and geographically isolated communities. 
  • Improve the health status of all populations and places, with a priority on eliminating health and mental health disparities and inequities. 
  • Conduct demographic analyses on health and mental health disparities and inequities and, to the extent feasible, an analysis of the underlying conditions that contribute to health and well-being. 
  • Work collaboratively with the Health in All Policies Task Force 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. 
  • Consult with state and local governments and representatives of vulnerable communities, including diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and LGBTQQ communities, women’s health advocates, mental health advocates, health and mental health providers, community-based organizations and advocates, academic institutions, local public health departments, local government entities, and low-income and vulnerable consumers. 

​OHE Programs

  • Administration & Operations Section: A&O provides business operation support and administrative support to the Office of Health Equity (OHE) in a variety of areas, such as: quality improvement, procurements, personnel, and facilities management.
  • Advancing Community Equity Branch (ACE): ACE forms trusted and meaningful relationships with community partners and Local Health Jurisdictions (LHJs) to enhance community engagement and outreach and transform public health toward equity and justice through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • Behavioral Health Equity Branch: comprised of the Community Development and Engagement Section (CDES) and the Child and Youth Behavioral Health Section (CYBHS)​
    • CDES strengthens the CDPH’s focus and ability to advise and assist other state departments in their mission to increase access to, and the quality of, culturally and linguistically competent mental health care and services.
    •  CYBHI Section is implementing a public education and change campaigns is co-designed for and by youth in order to raise behavioral health literacy among youth, caregivers, and their communities. The goal of the campaigns is to reduce stigma around mental, emotional, behavioral health and substance use disorder and to increase help-seeking behavior and wellness support.
  • Climate Change & Health Equity Section (CCHES): CCHES embeds health and equity in California climate change planning and embeds climate change and equity in public health planning.
  • Gender Health Equity Section (GHES)​: GHES plays a leadership role in the development of programs and policies intended to eliminate gender, gender-identity, and sexual orientation-based health disparities in California.
  • Health Equity Research and Statistics Section (HERSS)​: HERSS leads data collection and disseminating information about health and mental health disparities and inequities in California. 
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