The California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity has released its statewide plan to promote health and mental health equity.  The plan is the first demographic report and statewide strategic plan from the OHE since it was established in 2012. It presents evidence on the root causes of health inequities and offers strategies on how to address them.  For example:

  • almost one in four children in California lives in poverty, which is one factor that negatively impacts health
  • compared with the salaries paid to men, women still make less for the same work
  • one in five women in California has experienced physical or sexual violence by her partner
  • although death rates from stroke have declined in almost all racial and ethnic groups, the rate among African Americans remains about 50 percent higher than among some other racial or ethnic groups, mirroring similar disparities in related risks for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, and obesity
  • African American families are twice as likely as White families to suffer the loss of an infant
  • urban African American and Latino children are two to six times more likely to die from asthma than are White children
  • the prevalence of diabetes is two and a half times as high among Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders as among Whites
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youths attempt and complete suicide more often than their straight peers

The report also highlights the impacts of the social determinants of health:

  • 61% of Latino children and 51% of African American children are not in pre-school
  • only 31% of American Indian/Alaska Native, 33% of Latino, 34% of African American, and 40% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander third graders are reading at or above their grade level
  • over 57% of African American renters, over 55% of Latino renters, and over 52% of American Indian/Alaska Native renters spend over 30% of their income on housing
  • over 45% of California’s low-income African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives are unable to afford enough food

The strategic plan has three goals, with implementation strategies for health partners, the health field, and communities:

  • through assessment, yield knowledge of the problems and the possibilities
  • through communication, foster a shared understanding
  • through infrastructure development, empower residents and their institutions to act effectively.

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