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Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities

History of Health Equity Work in Texas

In 1985, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the Secretary's Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health. This report found a disparity in health status of the majority and minority populations in the United States. The minority population was defined as African Americans, Latino/ Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Native American Indians. "Despite the unprecedented explosion in scientific knowledge and the phenomenal capacity of medicine to diagnose, treat and cure disease, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and those of Asian/Pacific Islander heritage have not benefited fully or equitably from the fruits of science or from those systems responsible for translating and using health sciences technology,” the task force report stated.

In 1993, in response to this disparity, the 73rd Texas Legislature created the Texas Office of Minority Health with the passage of House Bill 1510. The Office of Minority Health was charged with facilitating an increased focus on the health care needs of minority populations in Texas. The functions of the office were to assume a leadership role in working with federal, state and private groups and agencies to develop minority health initiatives and to maximize the use of existing resources for this purpose.

With the passage of House Bill 2292 in 2003, the Texas Legislature called for the creation of the Office for the Elimination of Health Disparities. The office’s primary focus was to optimize the health and wellness of Texas residents by developing and strengthening systems and services to monitor and assess the health needs of underserved populations throughout the state.

With the passage of House Bill 1396 in 2007, the Texas Legislature transferred the Office for the Elimination of Health Disparities from the Texas Department of State Health Services to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). This provided the office with the opportunity to apply an integrated approach and to partner with other state health and human services agencies.

In 2011, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 501, which moved the office’s responsibilities to the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities. The center has the responsibility of addressing policy development and implementation, educational and training initiatives, program evaluation and monitoring, cultural competency training, capacity building, community engagement and empowerment, and technical and resources assistance.

Efforts to reduce and eliminate health and mental health disparities include racial/ethnic groups, women, seniors, children, those with disabilities and their families.