NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A9764
SPONSOR: De Los Santos
The purpose of this bill is to rename the Office of Minority Health
under the Department of Health to the Office of Health Equity and rede-
fine the mission and scope for the office.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill would amend Title II-F of Article 2 of the PHL
to reflect the renaming of the Office of Minority Health to the Office
of Health Equity.
Section two amends section 240 of the public health law to provide defi-
nitions for "underserved populations," "health disparities," "health
equity," and "social determinants of health." This sections also amends
the definition of "minority area" to read as the "racially and
ethnically diverse area."
Section three amends section 241 of the public health law to authorize
the Office of Health Equity to work collaboratively with other state
agencies and affected stakeholders to set priorities, collect and
disseminate data, align resources within the department, conduct health
promotion, and conduct educational outreach. This section also includes
provisions to promote community strategic planning and address the caus-
es of health disparities considering factors such as education, nutri-
tion, housing, and economic opportunity.
Section four of the bill would provide technical amendments and amend
the reporting requirements of the Office of Health Equity to include
analysis of the health status of vulnerable populations and recommenda-
tions to programs intended to meet the health and health care needs of
Section five amends section 243 of the public health law to establish
that a majority of the appointed voting membership of the health equity
council shall constitute a quorum.
Section six establishes the effective date of the bill.
Recently, the Office of Minority Health under the Department of Health
has deliberated on the use of the terms "minority" and "disparity" and
the growing sentiment to move away from their use. The Office believes a
formal name change to the Office of Health Equity more accurately
reflects the mission, vision, and values of the Department of Health and
the Office to provide the highest level of health to all populations.
The term "minority" limits the understanding of the population the
Office serves and given the demographic shifts in New York State and
excludes many other groups of people who face health disparities and
barriers. The term "equity" would better reflect the purpose of the
Office, which is to serve all vulnerable populations. The term "health
equity" within the newly named Office also signifies that there are
larger societal determinants of health related to an individual's
economic, physical, and social environments and that the observed meas-
urable differences in health and well-being can be impacted by collec-
tive public health action.
By broadening the scope of the Office to include vulnerable populations
and to consider factors that could have an impact on health outcomes,
the Office can more effectively improve health outcomes within vulner-
able populations. Through health promotion, educational outreach, and
implementing interventions aimed at achieving health equity among under-
served communities, the Office can better work toward making quality
healthcare more available and accessible. A newly named Office and the
responsibilities assumed reflect an important step in recognizing and
acting upon the social determinants of health which prevent health equi-
ty in New York.
This is a new bill.