Social conditions (such as income and education) and the environment have a direct impact on health. When these conditions occur unevenly, leading to persistent poor health in specific populations, this is considered a health inequity.
Addressing health inequities has always been at the heart of public health, and Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has a long and rich history of working to reverse them using a "health equity" approach.
A health equity approach allows health departments to consider upstream factors in the social, physical, and built environments that are the root cause for differences in disease and health outcomes. After considering these factors, a health equity approach looks to policy change as a solution.
The Office of Policy and Planning (OPP) is the HCPH hub for health equity work:
Strengthening the health equity capacity of our workforce.
- Adopting agency-wide policies and procedures that ensure our services have a health equity lens.
- Stakeholder and community engagement on efforts that address root causes across the lifespan.
- Monitoring the health equity footprint in Harris County.
- Serving as a go-to source on health equity by communicating health equity principles, needs, and best practices.