The Department joins 90 other federal agencies in releasing an “Equity Action Plan” as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s push to advance equity across the federal government.
Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and the co-chairs of the department’s Health Disparities Council—Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine and the Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Rebecca Haffajee—released statements on HHS’ new Equity Action Plan to advance equity in the delivery of health and human services.
A response to Executive Order 13985 that President Biden signed at the beginning of his term, the plan, which details some of the ways HHS is building on equity work already underway, is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s push to ensure that government works better for all. HHS’s plan specifically focuses on a main tenet of the executive order, that advancing equity must be a central component of the decision-making framework that all agency functions are routed through (e.g. grants, acquisitions, capacity building).
“At HHS, we’re centering equity in all that we do—whether it’s our work to address maternal health disparities, remove language barriers to care, or protect the rights of those with disabilities to access services,” said Secretary Becerra, who attended the White House Convening on Equity this morning where he emphasized these issues and others. “But advancing equity is not just about the many issues we’re addressing, it’s also about the way we do business, which is why our Equity Action Plan focuses on grants, acquisitions, and capacity building. Together, by centering equity in our programs, policies, and processes, HHS and other federal agencies, are changing the way we operate to ensure that government programs are within reach for all Americans—no matter their race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, locality, or age.”
“Extensive evidence tells us we have more work to do to ensure that all communities HHS serves have the opportunity to access and experience optimal health and wellbeing,” said Assistant Secretary Haffajee. “Our HHS Equity Action Plan demonstrates that we are committed, in collaboration with the public and our partners, to overcoming existing inequities through our research, policies, and programs.”
“At HHS, we are committed to an evidence-based approach to understanding barriers and advancing opportunity and equity. We are committed to using every tool in our toolbox to ensure that a healthier future includes eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity,” said Assistant Secretary Levine. “The HHS Equity Action Plan is a vital step toward enabling everyone living in America to reach their dreams.”
To learn more about HHS’ Equity Action Plan, and other actions HHS is taking to advance equity for all communities, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/equity/index.html.