The Health Equity arm of MSDH is committed to addressing Health Equity in the processes, policies, and procedures of all MSDH programs.
This commitment is not just to internal programs, but to work with external partners to identify health disparities and to seek innovative solutions to address them. To help MSDH employees view and develop initiatives with health equity as a factor, the Health Equity team has created an MSDH Health Equity Policy, a Health Equity Strategic Plan for the agency, and a Policy Checklist to help guide policy development.
Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles
Establish systems to enable MSDH staff to apply health equity goals and values when developing policies, procedures, services, and plans with the aim of reducing inequalities and disparities in health status based on race, ethnicity, and linguistic ability in order to improve the quality of health for all the state's residents.
To be a champion for achieving health equity across Mississippi.
- Health equity policies should be concerned with improving living and working conditions.
- Health equity policies should be directed toward enabling people to adopt healthier lifestyles.
- Health equity policies require a genuine commitment to decentralizing power and decision-making, encouraging people to participate in every stage of the policy-making process.
- Health impact assessment should be conducted together with intersectoral action.
- Health equity has mutual concern and control at the internal level.
- Health equity in healthcare is based on the principle of making high quality health care accessible to all.
- Health equity policies should be based on appropriate research, monitoring and evaluation.
Policy, Quality Assurance, Monitoring
It is imperative that policies and system changes are developed to institutionalize health equity efforts throughout an agency. A commitment to health equity will be evident in an agency's critical documents, strategic plans, and permanent structures. The Health Equity team has developed policies and tools to make it easy for staff to incorporate health equity in all policies, sub-grants, programs and practices. We also aim to ensure that the agency has a process to continually assess where it is in providing cultural and linguistically appropriate services and to track its health equity efforts.
Timely and accurate data is important to addressing health disparities in Mississippi. Our goal is to disseminate health disparities data to increase awareness of health disparities in Mississippi, to assist staff and key stakeholders in identifying gaps in services and programs, and to help inform policy makers of resources and needs to improve health equity in Mississippi.
The ability of the health care workforce to address health disparities will depend on its future cultural competency and diversity. By providing continuing education and training on essential health equity topics such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, National CLAS Standards, and Cultural Competence Training as well as providing a clear understanding of the differences between health equity, health disparities, and health inequalities, we hope to begin the process of change in health outcomes by having more prepared staff and partners to deal with the challenges of health inequalities.
To help improve health outcomes among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations, long-standing relationships need to be fostered between MSDH programs and the organizations that serve and work with communities affected by inequalities. These partnerships may be mutually beneficial and will help MSDH more effectively understand and connect to populations with greater needs, and create more specific programs tailored to a particular population.