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.
The Report illuminated a significant pattern of disparities for both the African American and Native American populations. As a result, the Office of Equity and Inclusion is convening these communities to partner with OHA and DHS to develop effective responses to these disparities.
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:
- What do these data mean to you? How do you interpret them? Why do we see these outcomes?
- What can/should be done to close these gaps and improve outcomes?
- 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
We are currently working with a workgroup of Native Americans to develop a culturally-specific process for responding to the SOE report. Tribes and urban Indian communities will receive small grant funding to host storytelling listening session/s with local American Indian community advocates, service providers and service recipients to better understand how OHA and DHS can build trust, support existing community strengths and close the gaps in outcomes and satisfaction identified in the Report. 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.
For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Naga, Interim Community Engagement Coordinator Rebecca.A.Naga@state.or.us Ph. 971.673.1283