OFFICE OF HEALTH EQUITY
Departmental policies, programs, and practices will improve the health of ethnic, geographic,
and economically underserved populations and communities.
To increase the capacity of the Hawaii State Department of Health, its health care providers,
and racial/ethnic communities to eliminate disparities in health and improve the quality of life
of Hawaii’s people.
The purpose of the Office of Health Equity (OHE) is to take a leadership role to identify and
make recommendations to the Director that addresses health disparities among population
segments with disproportionate health needs. OHE serves as the Department’s focal point for
improved planning and coordination of activities and programs related to socially
disadvantaged populations in Hawaii.
What We Do:
Under the general guidance of the Director of Health, OHE plans, administers and directs
statewide activities designed to identify and eliminate disparate health conditions among
population groups in Hawaii and link with national and state initiatives to eliminate disparities.
The activities of the Office focus on: establishing federal, state, county, and local partnerships
to help identifying health disparities and health needs and developing recommendations for
effective, culturally appropriate interventions within selected populations. In addition, the OHE
promotes adoption of the Healthy People 2020 Objectives and the National Plan for Action
(NPA) advocated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the priority areas
and issues of the Office of Minority Health. OHE serves as Hawaii’s liaison to the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.
STRATEGIC GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Goal 1: Increase awareness of the significance of health disparities, their impact on the state,
and the actions necessary to improve health outcomes for ethnic, geographic, and
economically underserved populations.
Objective 1: Ensure that ending health disparities is a priority across branches, sections, and
offices within Department of Health.
Objective 2: Develop and support partnerships among public and private entities to provide a
comprehensive infrastructure for awareness activities.
Objective 3: Create messages targeted towards and appropriate for specific audiences across
the lifespan, and present varied views of the consequences of health disparities that will
compel individuals and organizations to take action and to reinvest in public health.
Goal 2: Strengthen and broaden leadership for addressing health disparities at all levels.
Objective 4: Re-functionalize the Office by establishing it formally on the Department’s
Organization Chart and moving it towards a fully functioning robust office with administrative
Objective 5: Improve coordination, collaboration, and opportunities for soliciting employee and
community input on departmental policies, funding priorities, and programming that targets
Goal 3: Improve health and healthcare outcomes for ethnic, geographic, and economically
underserved populations by paying attention to the social determinants of health.
Objective 6: Engage in the social determinants of health dialogue and activities with other
executive department representatives, policy makers, private entities, and community leaders.
Objective 7: Ensure access to quality health care for all.
Objective 8: Enhance and improve health service experience through improved health literacy,
communication, and interactions.
Objective 9: Ensure the provisions of needed services (e.g., mental, oral and physical health,
and nutrition) for individuals from marginalized and underserved communities with a special
attention to children and older adults.
Goal 4: Improve cultural and linguistic competency.
Objective 10: Develop and support broad availability of cultural and linguistic competency
training for targeted staff and provider agencies.
Objective 11: Increase diversity and competency of the healthcare and administrative
workforces through recruitment and retention of ethnically and culturally diverse individuals
and through leadership action by healthcare organizations and systems.
Objective 12: Require organizations and provider agencies to adhere to the CLAS standards and
require interpreters and bilingual staff providing services in languages other than English to
adhere to the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NIHIC) Code of Ethics and
Standards of Practice.
Goal 5: Improve coordination and utilization of research and evaluation outcomes.
Objective 13: Ensure the availability of health data on all racial and ethnic groups that
constitute over 2% of the population.
Objective 14: Support and improve coordination of research that enhance understanding
about, and propose methodology for, ending health and healthcare disparities.
Objective 15: Expand and enhance knowledge transfer regarding successful programs that are
addressing the social determinants of health (i.e., housing, education, poverty).