In 2012, California took a significant step toward addressing the health needs of its diverse communities with the creation of the Office of Health Equity (OHE) within the California Department of Public Health. In the years since, OHE has taken a leading role in bringing attention to the health needs of the state’s communities of color and other underserved populations such as LGBTQ populations, while also looking at health through a gender lens.
The report goes into great detail about the benefits and challenges posed by California’s diversity and looks at the root causes of inequities across the state. OHE also makes a considerable effort to document the social determinants of health and how income, food security, education, housing, neighborhood planning, and the environment are all inextricably linked to the public’s health. The report also addresses gaps in access to health care among communities of color and low-income populations and the importance of cultural and linguistic competence in health care services.