Established in July 2011 as a partnership between OEI, the OHA Public Health Division, DHHS Office of Minority Health and the Northwest Health Foundation, the Regional Equity Coalition program has supported local, culturally-specific activities designed by communities to reduce disparities and address the social determinants of health. This model promotes coordinated, collaborative groups organized at a regional level to advance policies, systems and environments that promote health and chronic disease prevention and management.
Since the program’s launch, OHA has established three Coalitions, covering seven of Oregon’s most diverse counties: Benton, Linn, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, and Jefferson, and one sovereign nation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
Coalition membership includes individuals, stakeholders and community-based organizations with diverse skills, expertise and influence to address public health issues. This approach maximizes investment in community education by linking education activities to specific and desired policy goals, and builds community commitment to policy as a public health tool. The model is closely aligned with the federal HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity.
For more information about each Coalition and their work, please see:
Why Regional Health Equity Coalitions?
One in five Oregonians is a person of color and within the Oregon Health Plan, people of color comprise 40 percent of the client base. These growing populations, however, continue to experience gross health disparities that are costing our system in lives and dollars. In order to improve health for all of Oregon’s communities, we must support local, culturally-specific activities. As members of the diverse communities in which they reside, Regional Health Equity Coalitions are uniquely positioned to engage communities in understanding and advancing their health priorities and ultimately, eliminating health disparities.
What are the anticipated outcomes?
During their first year of funding, each RHEC utilized community outreach, education and engagement; equity and cultural competency training; collaboration and coordination; earned media to advance policies that reduce health disparities and promote health equity. They culminated year one of the grant with the development of a five-year plan for achieving equity and eliminating disparities through the development of culturally specific programs and policies.
As Regional Health Equity Coalitions continue to engage their communities, they will seek to achieve the following outcomes:
- Increased awareness of the significance of health disparities, their impact on the state, and the actions necessary to improve health outcomes for racial and ethnically diverse and underserved populations
- Increased capacity and leadership for addressing health disparities at all levels
- Improved data availability, and coordination, utilization, and diffusion of research and evaluation outcomes
- Increased coordination across health and other social support entities to collaborate on cross-cutting community wide issues.
- Implementation of policies at local, regional and state level that reduce health disparities and promote health equity.
What are opportunities to partner with the RHECs?
Through their five-year plans, each RHEC has identified community priorities for improving health outcomes. OHA programs and other entities can partner with RHECs and support them in implementing aspects of their plans. Working together, government programs and local community leaders can eliminate disparities in Oregon.
For more information, please contact:
Carol Cheney, Equity Manager - Carol.i.Cheney@state.or.us Ph. 971.673.2960