Behavioral health disparities are not usually considered part of the same system of health disparities. However, the California Department of Public Health focused its health equity strategies on reducing behavioral health disparities through its California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity. This statewide plan was developed through a community-wide stakeholder engagement and outreach process. In addition, the California Reducing Disparities Project is a prevention and early intervention effort to reduce mental health disparities in underserved populations. This strategic plan represents the voice of several racial/ethnic communities, such as African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and questioning communities in California, through 5 strategic planning workgroups. The workgroups were composed of a broad range of stakeholders, including community leaders, mental health care providers, consumer and family members, individuals with lived experience, and academia. This case example highlights the various efforts of California's Office of Health Equity in eliminating behavioral health disparities and promoting mental health equity, as well as discusses the unique statutory and regulatory role of the Office of Health Equity's deputy director.
This article highlights the various efforts of California's Office of Health Equity (OHE) in eliminating behavioral health disparities and promoting mental health equity and discusses the unique statutory and regulatory role of the OHE's deputy director.
Mishra Consulting, Alexandria, Virginia (Ms Mishra); Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, Virginia (Ms Valdes Lupi); and Office of Health Equity, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento (Mr Miller and Dr Nolfo).
Correspondence: Wm. Jahmal Miller, MHA, Office of Health Equity, California Department of Public Health, PO Box 997377, MS 0022, Sacramento, CA 95899 (Jahmal.Miller@cdph.ca.gov).
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.