In 2006, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) hosted nearly 2,000 leaders from all levels of government, academia, public health, mental health, minority-serving institutions, and minority communities at the National Leadership Summit for Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health. The purpose of the conference was to advance key issues and opportunities for improving minority health, promote promising and best practices, and mobilize collaborative actions, which are critical to improving minority health in the future. The discussions at the summit provided the impetus to broaden the dialog about ending health disparities beyond the health community, and establish the NPA as a national movement.
OMH responded by setting initial NPA goals, but sought to establish the priorities for a national strategy using a community-oriented approach. The process for developing what became the National Stakeholder Strategy was deliberate. It began by obtaining the views of community leaders and other stakeholders. Small "Community Voices" meetings, other focused sessions, and larger "Regional Conversations" stimulated analysis, input, and content refinement from community, professional, business, government, academic, and other representatives.
Throughout this process, a Federal Interagency Health Equity Team, now comprising representatives of HHS and 11 other Federal, cabinet-level departments, coordinated federal input. Ultimately, a draft national stakeholder strategy was published for public review, and more than 2,000 comments were received, analyzed and considered.
The National Stakeholder Strategy (NSS) for Achieving Health Equity provides a common set of goals and objectives for public and private sector initiatives to eliminate health disparities. It is a product of the National Partnership for Action (NPA) that incorporates input from thousands of individuals and organizations across the country. Twenty strategies tied to the five NPA goals are outlined in the NSS. These strategies provide opportunities for public and private sector organizations to identify which goals are most important for their communities, and adopt the most effective strategies and action steps to help reach them.
A second outcome is the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, which was released together with the National Stakeholder Strategy. The HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities is the United States Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) first action plan to reduce disparities. It complements The National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity. Through the HHS Action Plan, the Department commits to an ongoing assessment of the effect of policies and programs related to reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. Most important, it holds the Department accountable for increasing health insurance coverage, improving quality, building data capacity, preventing disease, and strengthening cultural competency to create a nation free of disparities in health and health care.