Online Program

Equity in All Policies: Addressing the Causes of Causes through Agency Transformation, Staff Engagement, and Accreditation

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Jennifer Hadayia, MPA, Office of Policy and Planning, Harris County Public Health, Houston, TX
Linda Forys, EdM, MCHES, Office of Policy and Planning, Harris County Public Health, Houston, TX
Shweta Kullachanda, BE, Project and Business Technology, Harris County Public Health and Envrionmental Services, Houston, TX
Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Houston, TX
Les Becker, MBA, Harris County Public Health, Houston, TX
Harris County, TX is one of the fastest growing and diverse areas. We have 19% poverty, 78% high school graduation, and 11 zip codes on an air pollution watch list. All cause poor health (Kinder Institute, 2014), and some are avoidable, unnecessary, and reversible (health inequities). Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) is a local health department in Harris County. In our most recent Agency Strategic Plan, we prioritized the elimination of health inequities. This required HCPHES to move from a health disparities and “improvisational” health equity approach to one that is coordinated, systemic, and institutionalized (NACCHO, 2009). This will also position HCPHES for conformity with new Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) requirements on health equity.

We began by selecting best practice process models for agency transformation, including Project Management practices and workforce development (NCHL, National Diversity Demonstration Project, 2009). We then formed a Health Equity Project Team of staff, diverse in demographics, tier, health equity experience, and role in public health practice. The Project Team was charged with conducting AS-IS and TO-BE analyses of health equity practice in HCPHES and to design a comprehensive agency-wide Health Equity Policy that ensures health equity is incorporated into all HCPHES programs, services, human resources, data management, and communications. The policy also puts forth universal health equity terms, frameworks, and staff training plans (Phase 1).  The policy will be implemented in the fall of 2015 (Phase 2).

The intent of this presentation is to share a replicable process for shifting local public health practice in the direction of health equity using internal policy adoption and staff engagement, the outcomes of which will also further attainment of new (version 1.5) PHAB accreditation measures for local health departments.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe a deliberative Project Management-based process to design a comprehensive agency-wide HE Policy in conformity with Public Health Accreditation (PHAB) (v. 1.5). Define the elements of the comprehensive agency-wide Health Equity Policy presented for providing essential public health services at the local level. Discuss lessons learned in the application of health equity principles to public health practice.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Health Equity Coordinator and Accreditation Coordinator for the third largest county health jurisdiction in the nation. Overall, I have 16+ years of public health experience at the national, state, and local levels, including work on multiple health disparities initiatives on such topics as breast and cervical cancers, HIV, IPV, obesity, and tobacco use. I also managed a multi-year cooperative agreement to replicate cultural competence training to healthcare providers in 25 states.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.