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Bureau of Health Equity

Bureau of Health Equity

The Bureau of Health Equity (BHE) is comprised of the Office of Minority Health and the Office of Women’s Health. Additional emphasis is placed on the aging population, persons with disabilities, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) population of Delaware. Our vision is to ensure everyone in Delaware will achieve their full health potential by eliminating differences in health outcomes due to social determinants (economical and social conditions that influence health), resulting in a state of health equity. Health equity is the absence of systematic disparities in health (or in the major social determinants of health) between groups with different levels of underlying social advantage/disadvantage—that is, wealth, power, or prestige. Inequities in health systematically put groups of people who are already socially disadvantaged (for example, by virtue of wealth, sex, sexual orientation or as members of an underserved racial, ethnic, or religious group) at further disadvantage with respect to their health.

Health Equity Spotlight

Health inequities are historically entrenched and pervasive, but they are not insurmountable. We can be most effective by transforming our collective thinking from a perspective focused on treatment of individuals, to one that focuses on prevention, health, and wellness of the broader population.  As part of Black History Month, the Delaware Division of Public Health has created a new infographic that presents information on chronic diseases and the effects of social determinants of health on the African American community.  Visit to learn more.

The Health Equity Guide for Public Health Practitioners and Partners is designed to help schools, workplaces, businesses, places of worship, and health care settings adopt policies that promote health. The guide was produced by the Division of Public Health, the University of Delaware’s School of Public Policy & Administration, and other partners.

Below are two reports from Partnership for Healthy Communities, University of Delaware:

Currently, the Division of Public Health is implementing CLAS Standards. The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards) are intended to advance health equity, improve quality and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. For a complete list of the standards with explanation, please see:

Health Equity & Culturally and Linguistic Appropriate Services (CLAS): How Are They Connected?
Health inequities in our nation are well documented, and the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) is one strategy to help eliminate health inequities. By tailoring services to an individual’s culture and language preference, health professionals can help bring about positive health outcomes for diverse populations. The provision of health care services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and needs of diverse patients can help close the gap in health care outcomes. The pursuit of health equity must remain at the forefront of our efforts; we must always remember that dignity and quality of care are rights of all and not the privileges of a few. For more information on CLAS standards, visit:

Social Determinants of Health

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health care system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national, and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities, the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries (World Health Organization, 2012). Some of the social determinants of health include income, education, housing, culture and customs, occupation, health behaviors (drinking, smoking, drug use, exercise), and stress.

Division Priorities:

  • Promote and provide training on cultural competency to improve access to health services for Delaware»s under-served populations;
  • Provide relevant statistical data to assess and identify health status of such populations;
  • Increase awareness of major health problems and factors that influence health;
  • Identify needs and expand community-based health promotion and disease prevention outreach effort;
  • Establish and strengthen networks, coalitions, and partnerships to identify and address health problems; and
  • Collaborate with public health partners to develop and promote programs and best practices to achieve health equity.

The Bureau of Health Equity’s mission is to promote and advocate for policy, programs, services, and initiatives which will eliminate the impact of the social determinants of health to ensure all Delawareans can achieve their optimal health with a special focus on the underserved populations of Delaware.
View Health Equity Strategic Map

  • Equity- Equity in health is the absence of systematic disparities between groups with different levels of underlying social advantage—such as education, employment, and living environment. Inequities in health put groups of people who are already socially disadvantaged (for example, by virtue of wealth, sex, sexual orientation or as members of an underserved acial, ethnic, or religious group) at further disadvantage with respect to their health.
  • Disparities- The term health disparity refers to population-specific differences by disease and health outcome between two or more groups.
  • Inequities- Inequity refers to differences which are unnecessary, avoidable and are considered unfair and unjust. The word “inequity” is political, implies judgment and is correctible.
  • Unnatural Causes- A documentary series exploring racial and socioeconomic inequalities in health.

Visit our other pages for more information and useful links:


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