OHA releases 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) launched its new 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) on Wednesday, focusing on health equity and the social determinants of health.

 

 

The plan, Healthier Together Oregon, identifies 62 strategies and supporting activities for improving health in Oregon, focusing primarily on the social factors that influence health. The plan highlights five priority areas: institutional bias; adversity, trauma, and toxic stress; behavioral health; economic drivers of health such as housing and food security; and access to equitable preventive health care.

These priorities were chosen in March 2019 but have since taken on new meaning in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, say officials in OHA’s Public Health Division.

“We now know the factors behind these priorities, most notably systemic racism, have only been exacerbated by COVID-19, and as a result, inequities have worsened,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD, health officer and state epidemiologist. “This is demonstrated by the fact that communities of color and tribal communities have been disproportionately impacted by this virus.”

BIPOC individuals, those who identify as LGBTQ+, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and those living in rural areas are identified as the plan’s priority populations.

The 62 identified strategies outlined in the plan fall within eight implementation areas: Equity and justice, healthy communities, healthy families, healthy youth, behavioral health, housing and food, workforce development, and technology and innovation.

 

Image: Oregon Health Authority

 

Under “Equity and justice,” the plan stresses that racial equity needs to be built into everything state agencies do. Specifically, the plan calls on Oregon to declare institutional racism a public health crisis. The plan also recommends that state health indicators be reported by race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability; that the state reduce legal and system barriers for immigrant and refugee communities; and that there is accountability for the implementation of anti-racist and anti-oppression policies and initiatives.

Under the “Healthy youth” implementation area, the plan recommends ensuring school districts implement K-12 comprehensive health education, expanding preventive health-related screenings in schools, and providing culturally and linguistically responsive, trauma-informed behavioral health services to children and families. It also calls for the end of school-related disparities for BIPOC children and youth through data-monitoring and teacher trainings.

Details on all 62 strategies are available under the “explore the plan” tab here.