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Evaluation of the HHS Disparities Action Plan
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities outlines goals and actions to reduce the gaps in health and health care between minority communities and the rest of the American population. The plan builds on the Affordable Care Act and is aligned with Healthy People 2020, the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, and the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy. It aims to reduce disparities by improving federal infrastructure, data collection, and expertise on best practices, as well as by prioritizing initiatives through key agencies. The strategies include the following:
- Improving approaches to reducing health problems frequently found in minority communities
- Diversifying the health care workforce to expand the number of health care providers from minority communities
- Building policies and institutions to improve access to quality health care to minority communities, among others
Our evaluation provides information that is critical to internal DHHS stakeholders to make the plan successful. The project involves (1) revising and expanding a data collection system to obtain data that monitors and reports on the progress of agencies toward achieving the plan’s key goals and strategies; (2) constructing measures of health and health care that can identify disparities; (3) identifying best practices in DHHS agency efforts for internal dissemination; (4) enhancing the long-term success of the plan with communication products that target the public and practitioners with examples of innovative practices; and (5) recommending a long-term strategy for monitoring and evaluating the plan’s success.