Health Equity Impact Assessment
State/Jurisdiction: North Carolina
Setting: Clinical Community Workplace
Population: Life Course
Topic Area: Equity & Anti-Racism
Across measures of health of individuals and communities, there are persistent gaps by race, ethnicity, disability status, income, and other key factors. Often these differences are preventable. Just as often, these differences can be perpetuated by inequitable public health programs and practices at the local and state levels (however unintentional), as well as the distinct inequitable social and economic conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and age. Policymakers, agency administrators, and members of impacted communities can and should collaborate to address the highly interconnected social and economic factors that influence health outcomes of individuals and communities while improving systems of care and public policies. That’s why #impactEQUITYNC, a group made up of representatives from NC Child, NC Division of Public Health (DPH), NC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the NC Chapter of the March of Dimes created the NC Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA). Based on a tool originally developed in Washington state, the HEIA provides a structured process to guide the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and programs that impact population health, with a goal of reducing health disparities and inequities. Data and community involvement are central to the tool’s success in facilitating systems change. The HEIA consists of a series of action steps intended to focus discussions and document proposals for equitable modifications to the policy or program being assessed. The primary action steps are completed jointly by an implementation team consisting of folks with lived experiences, community experts, content experts, providers, etc. who are knowledgeable about the policy/program being assessed on the day(s) of the assessment. These steps include creating a clear description of the current or proposed policy or program, examining the community data profile, identifying changes to the policy or program that will make it more equitable, and developing a monitoring plan for measuring changes to the policy or program.
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