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State of Equity Community Responses

In 2011, the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services released the State of Equity Report (SOE) which examined OHA and DHS key performance measures by race and ethnicity. The purpose of the report, was not simply to share data, but to serve as a tool to create community accountability and inclusivity in OHA and DHS programs that currently report disparities​.

Since then, Phase II of the State of Equity Report has been published. The significant pattern of disparities for the African American and Native American communities illuminated in the first report were also reflected in Phase II. As a result, the Office of Equity and Inclusion has convening these communities to partner with OHA and DHS to develop and implement effective culturally-specific responses to these findings.

African American Community Response​

Since the release of the first State of Equity Report, OHA and DHS leadership have committed to hosting regular meetings with the African American community to ensure accountability towards advancing equity and eliminating disparities. At the first meeting, held in April 2012, a series of roundtable discussions were held with community members and various OHA and DHS programs, in which they discussed the following questions:

  1. What do these data mean to you? How do you interpret them? Why do we see these outcomes?
  2. What can/should be done to close these gaps and improve outcomes?
  3. How would you like to see OHA/DHS improve relationships with the African American community?

At the second gathering, held in November 2012, OHA and DHS leaders reported back to the community on how they were implementing community feedback. Community members are currently planning the next event to be held in November 2013, in which they will ​​​present a series of requests to the agency.

Native American Community Response​

The State of Equity Report outlined a consistent pattern of disparities for the Native American community.  The findings created an opportunity for the State to work in partnership with the Native American community to provide more effective and culturally-appropriate services and improve outcomes.

Capturing powerful stories from elders and community members has been suggested as a culturally appropriate way to respond to the findings of significant health disparities experienced by Native American and American Indian communities in Oregon. To help achieve this, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will provide grants of up to $5,000.00 to each of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes and to urban Indian communities throughout the state. 

The following questions will be used as guiding questions for grantees during the storytelling sessions:

  1. When was a time when your community was healthy and everything was right? What is currently working well for your community? What programs are currently successful in your community? What challenges exist?
  2. How has your community adapted traditional practices when your community has been faced with oppressive interruptions to healthy cultural norms?
  3. What should the OHA/DHS do to support existing community strengths and close the disparities outlined in the State of Equity Report?
  4. How would you like to see OHA/DHS improve relationships with your community?
Grantees will have the opportunity to video record the storytelling sessions for their own community's use and to be shared with OHA and DHS leaders. To apply for a small grant, please review and complete the RFP

For more information or to get involved, please contact:

Rebecca Naga, Community Engagement Coordinator Rebecca.A.Naga@state.or.us Ph. 971.673.1283

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